California Penal Code 1320 PC states that it is a crime to intentionally fail to appear at a required court date. Therefore, if you intentionally missed your court date, you could be charged with Failure to Appear, and a judge can issue a warrant for your arrest. This means that officers could arrest you at your home, place of employment, or any public place, which can drastically affect your personal and professional reputations. As such it is essential to contact an Irvine failure to appear lawyer as soon as possible if you have missed a court appearance. Scott D. Henry and his team of attorneys could appear before the judge to persuasively defend the charge and seek to have it dismissed entirely.

What is Failure to Appear?

When you are charged with a crime or issued a traffic citation, you are typically ordered to appear in court. Depending on the circumstances, you may be required to appear several times. If you are ordered by the court but do not appear, you can be charged with Failure to Appear (FTA). Depending on what you are initially charged with, it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. To be convicted, the prosecution needs to prove all of the following elements:

  • You were charged with or convicted of a crime in California.
  • You were released on your own recognizance or by posting bail.
  • You willfully failed to appear in court.
  • You intentionally failed to appear to “evade the process of the court.”

A lawyer in Irvine could help someone prepare a defense if they have been charged with failure to appear.

When is Someone Ordered to Appear in Court?

There are several reasons why you may be required to appear in court. You are legally required to appear when:

  • You have signed a written promise to appear
  • You have received a subpoena
  • A judge has ordered you back to court after being charged with a crime or receiving a traffic citation

Subpoenas are typically issued when you are required to appear to testify in court or appear in court to bring specific documents to a court proceeding.

Penalties for Missing a Court Date in Irvine

The penalties for Failure to Appear largely depend on the crime you were originally charged with. As such, the penalties for a misdemeanor failure to appear include up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. For a felony failure to appear offense, the penalties may include 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 on bail.

Depending on the reasons for your court appearance, there may be additional penalties as well. For instance, if you failed to appear on a traffic violation, such as DUI, speeding, or driving without insurance, your license may be suspended. If you were not initially required to post bail, the judge may change the conditions of your release and require you to post bail after failing to make a court appearance. If you were previously required to post bail, the judge could increase the bail amount. It is also within the judge’s right to require you to remain in jail until your next hearing. Because the penalties for failing to appear in court can be harsh, it is important to retain an Irvine attorney if you missed your court date.

Contact an Irvine Failure to Appear Attorney Today

Failing to appear in court when required could result in a warrant, hefty fines, the revocation of bail, and jail or prison time. If you failed to appear in court and are unsure what to do, it is crucial to speak with a leading Irvine failure to appear lawyer immediately. Contact our office today for a free consultation because every minute counts.

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