Failing to appear in court when required can have serious consequences. If you missed your court appearance and are unsure what to do, it is best to consult with a Fullerton failure to appear lawyer as soon as possible.

Our criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of Scott D. Henry have extensive experience helping clients resolve these charges. We understand there can be valid reasons for not appearing in court as required and could negotiate skillfully on your behalf to have the charges dropped or significantly reduced.

What is a Failure to Appear?

California Penal Code 1320 PC states that if you willfully miss a court appearance as required, you can be charged with Failure to Appear or FTA. Depending on your initial charges, missing a court date can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.

Individuals are legally required to appear in court when they sign a written promise to appear, a judge orders them back to court, or they receive a subpoena. Subpoenas are issued when someone must testify or bring certain documents to a court proceeding. To be convicted of FTA, the prosecution must prove that you were charged or convicted in California and were released from custody by posting bail or on your own recognizance. They must also prove you intentionally failed to appear in court, and you willfully did so to “evade the process of the court.” If you are facing failure to appear charges, our experienced attorneys in Fullerton could help you prepare for the legal process ahead.

Potential Defenses for Missing a Court Appearance in Fullerton

The court is only required to mail a court appearance notice to your address on record or your attorney’s address. It is your responsibility to provide the court with your current mailing information, so if you moved and did not inform the court, you will not be excused from failing to appear.

If circumstances beyond your control kept you from appearing in court, you might have a viable defense. Some examples of these circumstances are an accident, serious illness, or natural disaster. A lawyer in Fullerton could review your case and determine if you have a viable defense for your failure to appear charges.

Penalties for Failing to Appear in Court

Penal Code 1320 PC makes it a crime to willfully fail to appear in court when ordered to do so. These convictions can carry harsh consequences. A bench warrant can be issued for your arrest, possibly causing you to be arrested at your home, place of employment, or a public place. A misdemeanor FTA conviction can carry penalties of up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000. A felony conviction could carry penalties of up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000 if you were previously released on your own recognizance or $10,000 if you were previously released by posting bail.

If you missed your court appearance for a violation of the California Vehicle Code, such as speeding, reckless driving, or driving under the influence, your driving privileges might be suspended. Failing to appear in court can affect your terms of release considerably. If you initially were released on your own recognizance, the judge could change the conditions of your release and require you to post bail. If you initially posted bail, the judge may decide to increase your bail amount. It is also within the judge’s power to order you to remain in custody until your next court hearing. An attorney in Fullerton could work hard to reduce the potential penalties that you may be facing for your failure to appear charges.

Consult with a Fullerton Failure to Appear Attorney Today

Failing to appear in court as ordered can be a stressful situation. You likely do not know what steps to take to resolve this issue and are frightened to contact the court. If you missed your required court date, it is essential to speak with a Fullerton failure to appear lawyer immediately.

Scott D. Henry and his team are dedicated to guiding you through this process while fighting aggressively to resolve the issue with the court. We have long-standing relationships with local prosecutors and judges, which help us negotiate effectively on your behalf to have the charge reduced or dropped entirely. Contact our office today. We could discuss your situation, advise you of your legal rights and options, and determine a course of action to help you obtain the best possible outcome.

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