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What is a Valid Excuse For Missing My Court Date?

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

August 14, 2020

Proper Excuses for a Missed Court Date

If you get an order to appear in court, it’s usually not optional. There are some circumstances in which you don’t have to appear. However, in some cases, failing to show up for your court date could put you in additional legal hot water.

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Lack of Notice

You must be notified of your court date. If you don’t know that it’s happening, how can anyone expect you to show up? If you received your summons in person or had to sign for it, you can’t use the excuse that you were not notified. If your address changed, but you did not inform the court, you can’t claim that you did not receive notice. However, if you can prove that the court did not send a notification, you cannot be charged for failure to appear.

Last-Minute Emergencies

You can’t always control the world around you. A valid emergency can serve as an excuse for missing a court date. Some examples of legitimate emergencies include:

  • An emergency room visit for a sudden, debilitating medical condition.
  • A sick child.
  • A motor vehicle accident.
  • A kidnapping.
  • The death of someone in your immediate family.

Even if an accident prevents you from adhering to your court date, you must get in touch with the court. Your attorney can appear for you and explain the situation. You may also be able to send an agent, such as a family member, to clarify why you’re not there.

Neglecting to appear or contact the court can have serious consequences. You could be arrested or charged with failure to appear, which is a criminal offense.

Tips for Missing a Court Date

If you missed a court date intentionally or the absence was avoidable, you will likely be charged. A judge or magistrate can issue a bench warrant, which allows them to arrest you for your absence. A bench warrant can be issued whether you neglect to appear in court for a criminal charge, failure to pay child support, violating a restraining order, or avoiding a court summons to testify as a witness.

Therefore, you should document everything related to your absence. Keep medical records, take photos of your car accident, or get a copy of a police report that’s associated with your excuse.

Contact a Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer

When you miss a court date, knowing you have a bench warrant looming over your head can be a scary and stressful experience. If you are facing charges for missing your court date, our Miami criminal defense lawyers can help.

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