How to Handle a Missed Court Date
Missing a court date is a big deal. However, the consequence depends on the case. If you were supposed to appear for a traffic ticket, you can contact the court and arrange to appear at a later date. But failing to appear for a criminal court date can have more dire results.
What Happens If You Miss Your Criminal Court Date?
If you have an unavoidable emergency, you may have a valid reason to miss a court date. Still, you must get in touch with the court or send someone in on your behalf, such as your attorney, on the specified date. Plus, you’ll have to document the reason for your failure to appear. If your excuse isn’t validated, the court will issue a bench warrant for your arrest.
The same goes for a complete no-show. Let’s say that you mark the date incorrectly on your calendar and don’t realize it until it is too late. In that case, the magistrate will issue a bench warrant.
What Is a Bench Warrant?
A bench warrant is issued when an individual fails to appear for a court date. Once the warrant is established, you can be arrested any time you have an interaction with law enforcement. That means that you can get hauled off to jail if you’re stopped for a traffic violation.
Steps to Take After You Miss Your Court Date
Even if you have an outstanding bench warrant, you don’t have to wait until you’re apprehended by the police to remedy the situation. Here are some steps that you can take:
- Contact your attorney - A legal professional can give you advice and help you take care of the situation so that you’re not charged with a more serious offense.
- Contact the court - Reaching out to the court shows that you’re not trying to avoid your charges or jump bail.
- Ask for a new court date - Rescheduling your appearance and showing up can result in the warrant being lifted.
In many cases, you will have a chance to explain yourself before you’re incarcerated for missing a court date. Therefore, you should demonstrate your willingness to work with the system. Hiding out or avoiding law enforcement can get you into deeper trouble.
Why You Need a Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer
It always helps to hire an attorney when you’re dealing with criminal legal matters. You can contact your lawyer if you have an emergency that prevents you from making your court date. If you missed your court date, your attorney can help you appeal the warrant. The team at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. are experienced criminal defense attorneys, and we understand your rights.
Contact us today at (305) 330-1360 if you need help with a missed court date or other criminal matter.