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Los Angeles: 323-547-8786

Orange County: 714-541-1155

San Bernardino: 909-381-3899

San Diego: 619-381-4859

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What Happens if You Miss a Court Date

Posted on Apr 17th, 2023 by Super User 3761 Views

If you have been accused of an offense, you could avoid spending time behind bars by posting bail and securing your release from custody. As a condition of your discharge, you commit to attending all court proceedings in your case. If you violate your release terms and fail to appear in court, the repercussions could be severe. This blog goes into detail on what to expect if you miss your court date.

You Forfeit Your Bail

If you posted the bail amount with your money and failed to show up in court, do not expect to get it back. The court would keep the money, regardless of how much was posted. If you do not skip bail, show up for all court hearings, and satisfy all other obligations, the court will refund you the money you posted for the bond, less any court-imposed charges in your case. In addition, you risk losing whatever property, like a home, a car, or other valuables, you put up as collateral for the bond.

You'll Have To Pay Your Bail Bondsman the Money Spent on Your Bail

When a bail bonds company is involved in the transaction, the bail bondsman will lose money if you fail to show up for your court proceedings. In most cases, the court would notify the bail bonds company through a letter that you have failed to show up for your court hearing and that the bail amount is set in default.

There is usually a grace period that can help you set things right. However, it's at the court's discretion, which could not be so forgiving. Therefore, if you violate your bail terms, be prepared for your bail bonds service provider to demand payment in full. You would have already spent some money settling the bail bondsman's charges when you hired their services, and you should be aware that he or she won't refund you.

Instead, you will lose the cost you incurred and repay the entire bail amount to the bail bond agency you engaged. You also need to be aware that if you skip a court session, the bail bonds company will dispatch bounty hunters to track you down.

Get a Bench Warrant

Even though it seems minor, the fact that you missed your court appearance led the court to serve a bench warrant order for your apprehension for contempt or failure to appear in court. A magistrate issues a bench warrant for arresting individuals who fail to appear for their scheduled court sessions or neglect taking care of issues like missed child support payments, probation violations, or outstanding court fines.

On the other hand, law enforcement officers seek arrest warrants if they've reasonable grounds to believe an offense was perpetrated or have proof of a violation. Bench warrants are usually issued to ensure your presence in court. Issuance of a bench warrant occurs when a court staff drafts the paperwork, the magistrate approves it, and police officers use it to apprehend you. The warrant is communicated to law enforcement authorities via their computer systems.

Normally, you'll receive a copy in the mail. When you learn about the warrant, you have two options: Appear in court willingly or Risk being detained and imprisoned until the court hearing. You could be detained anywhere—at home, work, or another city or state. However, it's more likely that a bench warrant will catch up with you during a regular traffic stop.

You can usually check it online if you have doubts about whether an arrest warrant has been posted for your apprehension.

Fines and Jail Sentences

Missing a scheduled court date could result in a number of consequences. One of the harshest possible consequences for many people facing penalties for skipping court dates is serving jail or prison time. These prison sentences could last anywhere from a few days to one year or longer.

The circumstances surrounding the situation and the problem at hand significantly affect the duration of incarceration. Another worry that can cause distress is having to pay fines. Even though the sums of these financial payouts range from extremely small to quite large, they could result in a significant loss of income.

Depending on a number of factors, including the case at hand, they could be worth thousands of dollars. These offenses could be punished with additional time on top of the original sentence.

License Suspension

License suspension is another common consequence for persons who fail to attend key court meetings. These can be professional or driver's licenses. The court would issue an arrest warrant if you skip a traffic court hearing, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will be made aware of the warrant.

The DMV can send you a notice allowing you 2 months to settle your citation before your driving license gets suspended. After that time, you could have fewer alternatives to negotiate a deal with the prosecutor over your ticket. It could also take time and effort to reinstate licenses that are suspended in this way.

Separate Criminal Charges

If you do not make your court appearance when required, you risk facing charges of bail jumping, failing to appear, or criminal contempt of court.

In most jurisdictions, failing to appear is considered an offense and is often regarded as a misdemeanor. When someone on bond fails to show up for court, they are subject to bail jumping. Bail jumping can result in felony charges or misdemeanor charges, depending on the severity of the alleged crime

Failure to follow a court order is referred to as contempt of court and is typically considered a misdemeanor offense

A judge would also determine your sentence if you're found guilty of an offense or accept a plea deal, and he or she could take your level of remorse into account. Most judges view an accused's absence from a court appearance as an indication of them lacking guilt or contempt for the legal system. This could lead to the judge issuing a severe punishment.

Bail Revocation or Modification of Release Conditions

If you miss your court hearing, you could be required to post a significantly larger bond amount. In rare cases, you could be forced to forfeit any amount paid to deposit your bond in order to be released from jail.

Assume the court earlier did not ask you to deposit a bail amount and instead discharged you on your own recognizance. The judge will set a bail amount for your release conditions. This implies that you will be required to post bail to be freed from detention while the case is still pending.

One of the most severe consequences you would face is the complete revocation of the bond. The court can raise the bond amount or even revoke it if you have already paid the entire bail amount. This sentence would compel you to stay in custody until the court reviews your case.

This action is typically only likely if the court determines that your absence was intentional. If the court revokes your bail, it is assumed that there were no conditions attached to it that would guarantee your court appearance in the future.

Tips on How to Handle Court Absence

When it comes to handling absence from significant court proceedings, there are actions to be taken and details that are crucial. Some court proceedings have been scheduled for criminal cases that need to be resolved. When a court trial is proceeding, you may have been granted a bond, so you will not have to remain in detention.

If you fail to appear, the court will quickly issue an arrest warrant unless you have a lawyer who can explain your absence. However, even if you have a lawyer, the court would still find you in contempt if you fail to appear.

You need to retain legal counsel and provide all relevant information to them to safeguard your rights. Failure to comply with this paperwork could result in being arrested. Nevertheless, you could face additional consequences if you fail to show up for your court hearing with an attorney or a valid excuse for your missed court date.

There could be a delay between the missed court session and the time the actual warrant is issued. Acting swiftly is your best defense if you fail to appear for a court proceeding. If you end up in jail, your attorney can help in some way by getting the charges dismissed or securing a bond. It is critical to have a firm grasp of the law to avoid unintended outcomes.

In addition, there are some actions you should refrain from taking after failing to show up to court, including:

  • Do not attempt to flee to avoid the upcoming court session or subsequent appearances
  • Do not tell any lies about the reasons why you had to miss your last court hearing
  • Do not dismiss the issue in the hopes that the court won't notice it

Plead Your Case For A Recall

When you and your lawyer go to the court where you were initially scheduled to show up, you could tell the judge that you failed to show up for your court hearing and are now handing yourself in. The best way to let the court know that you will be turning yourself in is to give the clerk a call ahead of time.

You could be required to arrange a hearing to demonstrate conformity with a ruling, pay any court-ordered fines to resolve your ongoing case, or both. Let's say you go to court to explain your regrettable circumstances or an honest mistake.

In this instance, the court could recall the arrest warrant based on the seriousness of the allegations against you or how much you delayed before clearing the warrant. With multiple warrants, a judge is less inclined to show mercy.

Communicate With Your Bail Bondsman

Once you've spoken with your public defender or lawyer, it's time to get in touch with the bail bondsman that got you out of custody. If you've got an outstanding warrant, the bail bondsman could send a bounty hunter or an agent to attempt to take you back to jail. If this happens, you'll be arrested and taken to jail.

But there are a lot of bail bond companies who could be willing to help you. If you contact the bail bonds business and explain why you were absent from court, as well as the fact that your lawyer has already arranged another court hearing for you, the likelihood of them pursuing you is lowered.

It's also crucial to remember that when you fail to appear in court, the bail bonds business could revoke your bail. Even though it is uncertain they'll do so when you skip one hearing, the likelihood grows when you miss more than one.

It Will Be Up To The Judge To Decide Your Fate

When you finally appear before a judge after skipping your court hearing, the judge will have complete discretion over your case. When the judge determines that you pose a risk of fleeing or have repeatedly missed court hearings, they could raise your bond sum, discharge you on bail, or revoke it altogether.

Judges are more likely to be forgiving toward defendants who've only skipped one court appearance and taken the initiative to set up another one. Courts are sterner with people who have repeatedly skipped court appearances and/or fled from their obligations because they become flight risks.

Can A Forfeiture That The Court Orders In My Absence Be Overturned If I Later Appear In Court?

If you fail to appear in court, a judge could order your bail to be forfeited. However, if you later show up and provide the judge with a good reason for your absence, the forfeiture could be lifted, and the court will reinstate the bond. Examples include failing to appear due to a loved one's death, sickness, insanity, or arrest by military or civil authorities. 

Should I Expect To Pay More If I Miss My Court Hearing?

Bail bonds are straightforward. Suppose you post bail with the court and then appear for your scheduled court hearing. If you fail to not appear in court as ordered, you'll be responsible for repaying the entire loan amount plus the additional 10% premium. Most people turn to a bail bonds company to obtain a loan because they need more funds to give the court the amount it asks for.

Even after the case is resolved in court, the defendant is still responsible for 10% of the loan's principal. You will receive a full refund of your money when you appear in court on schedule and are sincere. However, you must still pay the bail bonds firm a 10% premium.

What If I Am Unable To Appear In Court On The Scheduled Date?

There is virtually no way that you can avoid appearing in court for the hearing that has been scheduled for you. But there are ways to delay it. If you cannot appear in court on the scheduled day, notify your bond provider as soon as possible. You risk facing harsh legal repercussions if you don't.

There aren't too many events that can prevent you from appearing in court, not even a quick checkup at the doctor. However, you could reschedule your court hearing if, for instance, you have a burial ceremony for a loved one or your relative is in the hospital with a serious injury.

All of this relies on your record and whether or not you have a reputation for fleeing. Another point to remember is that when your bail bondsman offers to assist you in getting to court, accept it. Get all the assistance you can, whether that means transportation to the court or assistance in rescheduling your work schedule.

What If You Accidentally Missed Court?

The prosecution needs to demonstrate that you purposefully, wilfully, or deliberately neglected to appear in court. Proving that you were aware of the court date and simply failed to show up (whether due to an accident or not) is usually sufficient. If you weren't notified of the proceeding, you could have a case, but courts retain track of such notices.

That notification could be given in a number of ways, such as a letter delivered to the accused, based on the relevant jurisdiction. In most cases, attempting to persuade the court that the letter was misplaced in your mail will not be successful.

Find a Bail Bonds Service Near Me

When you are out on bail, the last thing you need is to be arrested for failing to show up for court. Our bail bond representatives at Justice Bail Bonds are aware that accidents can happen to anyone at any time. Also, there are many reasons why a defendant who has been granted bail could miss their court date.

If you're located in Temecula, California, and require any kind of assistance with posting your bail, you should get in touch with us at Justice Bail Bonds. We are here for you whenever you need us. Call us at 951-445-4155 if you have any further questions.

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For faster service please call 951-445-4155 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you or a loved one has been arrested and need to be bailed out quickly and confidentially or if you simply have questions regarding bail, an arrest, or inmate information please do not hesitate to call or fill out our contact us form. We are available 24/7 for all of your bail needs. 

For faster service please call 951-445-4155 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you or a loved one has been arrested and need to be bailed out quickly and confidentially or if you simply have questions regarding bail, an arrest, or inmate information please do not hesitate to call or fill out our contact us form. We are available 24/7 for all of your bail needs.