Did you miss a required court date? Failing to appear in court can result in charges and a warrant out for your arrest. If you missed a court appearance, it is best to speak with a Laguna Beach failure to appear lawyer right away. At The Law Office of Scott D. Henry, our criminal defense lawyers have successfully resolved failure to appear charges.

We know how to expertly negotiate on your behalf to have the charges dismissed or reduced, minimizing any consequences. Failing to appear in court is a serious matter. Let us fight persuasively to resolve the matter and get you back on the right track.

What is a Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant is the most common type of warrant issued in California. It differs from an arrest warrant in that a bench warrant isn’t based on suspected criminal wrongdoing. Bench warrants are issued when an individual fails to appear in court, fails to pay court fines, or fails to obey other court orders.

When you miss your required court date, you are considered to be in “contempt of court,” and a bench warrant will be issued, giving law enforcement the ability to arrest you at your home, work, or any public place. This can be embarrassing and affect your reputation in the community, so it is important to contact one of our local bench warrant attorneys to have the issue resolved favorably.

What Are the Penalties for Failing to Appear in Court?

In addition to a bench warrant, several other consequences can result when you fail to appear in court. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor failure to appear (FTA) charge, the penalties include up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. If you are convicted of a felony FTA charge, you may receive up to three years in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

If you were previously released on your own recognizance, the judge could change the terms of your release and require you to post bail. If you previously posted bail, the judge could increase the bail amount. It is also important to note that the judge may decide not to release you from custody and require you to remain in jail until your next court hearing.

Failure to Appear Convictions

To be convicted of failing to appear, the prosecution must prove the following:

  • You were charged or convicted in California.
  • You were released on your own recognizance or posted bail.
  • You failed to appear in court intentionally.
  • You did so to “evade the process of the court.”

A skilled Laguna Beach attorney may argue the missed court date was an accident and was not intentional. Intent is typically the most challenging element to prove and might provide an effective defense strategy.

Defenses for an FTA Charge in Laguna Beach

People often believe that a valid defense to an FTA charge is that they never received a notice to appear. Courts are only required to mail one notice to either your or your attorney’s address. It is your responsibility to notify the court that you have moved and provide them with your new address. Not doing so will not excuse you from a failure to appear charge.

There are, however, circumstances beyond your control that could provide a defense for failing to appear in court. For example, if you had a serious illness, were in an accident, or there was a natural disaster at the time, you may be able to argue the missed court date was not intentional.

Leading Laguna Beach Failure to Appear Attorneys

Having a highly regarded, skilled attorney can mean the difference between walking out of the courtroom or going to jail. If you failed to appear in court, you need superior legal representation. Our skilled Laguna Beach failure to appear lawyers at The Law Office of Scott D. Henry are extremely successful in having FTA charges dropped or reduced.

We have long-standing relationships with local judges and prosecutors, helping us negotiate effectively to resolve the issue. Our team understands how frightening this situation may be. We are here to fight skillfully on your behalf to obtain the best resolution possible. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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