You have been charged with a crime and have been ordered to appear in court on a specific day and time. If you do not show up to the court-appointed session, you may be charged with failure to appear in court.
In California, failure to appear in court may lead to the judge issuing a bench warrant for your arrest. As the defendant, you or your lawyer (depending on the crime) must then show up in court to try to recall the warrant. In other words, if you show up in court after the bench warrant is issued, you may be able to have the warrant removed.
Are there any acceptable excuses for missing court?
Though failing to appear in court is a serious issue, the judge may dismiss the warrant if you missed court due to one of these reasons:
- You had an emergency.
- You made an honest mistake and forgot about your scheduled appearance.
- You did not purposely miss your court date.
- You did not sign any documents stating that you would appear in court.
The judge appointed to your case will probably not dismiss the warrant if you make any of the following excuses:
- You simply decided not to show up because you didn’t feel like it.
- You had other plans so you skipped court.
- You chose not to show up because you are innocent.
The penalties for failing to appear run the gamut from being charged with a misdemeanor to being charged with a felony. The penalties depend on the type of crime or offense you committed.
Should you fail to appear in court, you will need to seek assistance in order to explain the situation to the judge.