In most cases, court dates are set without considering your commitments. Because of this, you might receive a court date that is rather inconvenient. It might be tempting to skip this appointment, but you should understand that it is against the law to miss a court date. Failing to appear for a hearing or court proceeding can have serious legal consequences when the failure is willful.
This might seem intimidating, but a Mount Dora failure to appear lawyer could help you deal with the penalties of missing a court date. Our dedicated criminal defense attorneys could help you file a motion to recall a warrant or set aside your bond forfeiture. Regardless of the reason for your failure to appear, you could get help if you contact an attorney before the arrest is enforced.
When Is Failure to Appear Willful?
Failure to appear is a serious offense in most jurisdictions. Failing to honor a court date can lead to additional charges, depending on the original offense. However, a court may require proof that an individual skipped the proceedings willfully.
If an uncontrollable event caused someone to miss their court appointment, he or she might be able to demonstrate this and avoid additional charges. An uncontrollable event could refer to include any issue beyond one’s control, such as:
- Medical incapacitation like being hospitalized on the hearing date
- An accident or vehicle breakdown on the way to the courthouse
- Government directives like the lockdowns experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic
If someone needs help demonstrating that their failure appear was not willful, they should work with a diligent attorney in Mount Dora. Our legal team could help prove that an event beyond one’s control impacted a plaintiff’s ability to attend a court appointment.
The Consequences of Failing to Appear
A willful failure to appear violates state and federal laws. This violation attracts additional charges and penalties, such as:
An Arrest Warrant
An arrest warrant is an order given by a judge to arrest the defendant and take them to court. When a warrant is issued, the law enforcement officers may enforce it at someone’s workplace or home. A plaintiff can avoid the hassle and stigma of an arrest by contacting a failure to appear attorney in Mount Dora. Legal representation could then offer advice on how to avoid the arrest.
Forfeiture of Bond
If an individual had posted a bond for his or her release pending the hearing, he or she could lose the bond money or securities when failing to appear.
Bond Terms Review
A failure to appear may also lead to an upward review of one’s bond terms. The court may even cancel a person’s bond and force them to attend the hearing from custody.
The Florida Statute § 843.15 allows the prosecution to bring additional charges for failing to appear. If an individual was released in connection with a felony, they could be found guilty of a third-degree felony for failing to appear. Defendants who fail to appear for a misdemeanor may be found guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor.
If one continues to remain in a state of failure to appear, they might:
- Have their driving license suspended indefinitely
- Become ineligible for government benefits like the unemployment benefits
- Experience difficulty getting a job
All of these penalties are serious but dedicated legal representation could help with keeping one’s life and future prospects on track after a failure to appear.
What Are Your Options When Failing to Appear?
When you fail to appear, your available options include:
- Hiring an attorney to help you prove that the failure to appear was not willful
- Contacting your attorney to file a motion to withdraw the failure to appear warrant
- Hiring an attorney to file a motion to surrender in the courtroom instead of the jail
Deciding which option is the best for the circumstances might be a challenge, but our Mount Dora lawyers are here to help with minimizing the consequences of a failure to appear.
Missed a Court Date? Call a Mount Dora Failure to Appear Attorney
Failing to appear for any scheduled court procedure is a breach of the law. You may have a warrant of arrest issued against you, forfeit your bond, or have additional charges. However, missing a court date does not mean all is lost. A Mount Dora failure to appear lawyer could help you build a defense or fight for leniency in the courtroom.
At Largey Law Firm, we understand you may miss a court date for some reason. If this applies to you, reach out today to learn more about your legal options.