If you have been charged for missing a court or have a warrant out for your arrest, it is best to speak with a knowledgeable Santa Ana failure to appear lawyer right away. Our criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Scott D. Henry have the knowledge and experience needed to protect your rights and obtain a positive resolution. We could negotiate on your behalf to have the bench warrant cleared and the failure to appear charge reduced or dismissed entirely.
Several matters require an individual to appear in court. Being charged with a crime or issued a traffic citation typically requires at least one court appearance. Court appearances are also required if you signed a written promise to appear, a judge orders you back to court, or you received a subpoena. Subpoenas are issued for various reasons, such as when you must bring relevant documents to a court hearing or testify in court.
Missing a required court date can have serious consequences. After failing to appear in court, the judge typically issues a bench warrant for your arrest. This means that law enforcement can arrest you anywhere at any time. In addition to the bench warrant, you may be charged with Failure to Appear under California Penal Code 1320 PC. This crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. It depends on whether you were charged with a crime originally and what the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense were.
Misdemeanor failure to appear convictions carry a sentence of a maximum of six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Felony convictions carry a sentence of a maximum of three years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A Santa Ana attorney could help you minimize the potential penalties you may be facing for a failure to appear charge.
Failing to appear in court can also affect your future terms of release. If you were initially released on your own recognizance, the judge can change the conditions of your release and require you to now post bail. If you previously posted bail, the judge could significantly increase the new bail amount. It is also important to note that the judge has the power to not release you and order you to remain in jail until your next court hearing if you miss a court appearance.
It is important to understand that not receiving a notice to appear in the mail is not a valid excuse for missing a required court date. It is your responsibility to notify the court of a change of address. If you moved to a different address and never informed the court, you will not be excused from failing to appear.
Alternatively, circumstances beyond your control may be an effective defense to a failure to appear charge. Some examples include a natural disaster, serious illness, or an accident. A lawyer in Santa Ana could help build an appropriate defense for your failure to appear charges.
Missing a required court date is a serious situation that may result in a bench warrant and serious charges. If you did not attend your court date, we recommend you contact our reputable Santa Ana failure to appear lawyers right away.
Our legal team at the Law Offices of Scott D. Henry understands what is at stake. An embarrassing arrest, criminal charges, and possible incarceration can all result from failing to appear in court. Contact our office today so we can begin fighting to resolve the matter.