Strategic Defense
From A Former Prosecutor

What happens if you fail to appear in court?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Being summoned to court is not something anyone wants to experience. However, if you find yourself in this situation, there are consequences for failing to appear. 

In some cases, courtroom hearings may seem inconsequential or unimportant, but it’s essential that you show up no matter how trivial the summons appears. Not appearing in court can lead to serious legal consequences that could jeopardize your future. 

Failure to appear can lead to a new arrest

If you fail to appear in court in California, the consequences can be severe. Depending on why you were due to appear in court, the judge may issue a bench warrant or an arrest warrant. Even if your court hearing was for a traffic ticket, you could still have a warrant, additional charges, and a $100 civil assessment penalty.

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony and are released on your own recognizance, missing your court date could result in severe ramifications. The law will assume you are trying to evade the court process and can penalize you with a $5,000 fine and imprisonment. 

If you are facing criminal charges, attending all required court dates is always best practice. If you can’t make it to your court date, taking action as soon as possible is crucial. The first step is to contact the court clerk and explain your situation. They may be able to reschedule your court date or provide information on how to file a motion for continuance. Working with someone who understands the court’s process can help you avoid negative repercussions for failing to appear.