If you did not go to court when your presence was required, you should consult a Westminster failure to appear lawyer. Many people do not realize that missing a court date can result in criminal charges. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of Scott D. Henry could fight tirelessly on your behalf. Our relationships with local prosecutors and judges allow us to negotiate effectively to resolve the issue and prevent or minimize penalties.

Legal Definition of Failure to Appear

If you intentionally miss a required court date, you can be charged with Failure to Appear (FTA), pursuant to California Penal Code 1320 PC. This offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on your original charges. Four elements must be proven to be convicted on a failure to appear charge. Prosecutors must prove you were charged with or convicted of a crime in the state of California, you originally posted bail or were released on your own recognizance, you intentionally failed to appear, and you did so to “evade the process of the court.” A skilled attorney in Westminster could help someone who failed to appear in court with their case.

When May Someone Be Required to Appear in Court?

Several matters may require an appearance in court. Some common court appearances are associated with being charged with a crime or issued a traffic citation. You may also be ordered to appear in court if you have signed a written promise to come or have received a court subpoena. Typically, subpoenas are issued when you must testify in court or bring relevant documents to a court proceeding.

The Consequence of Missing a Court Appearance in Westminster

Failing to appear in court is a crime and carries harsh consequences if convicted. An FTA conviction carries penalties that include bail revocation, jail time, hefty fines, and a driver’s license suspension. Additionally, the judge may issue a bench warrant, which can result in your arrest. In this situation, law enforcement can arrest you anywhere – your home, your work, or any public place in your community. This can be both an embarrassing and life-changing experience.

Defending a Failure to Appear Charge

Some circumstances beyond your control prevent you from appearing in court as required. Situations such as becoming seriously ill, suffering a natural disaster, or getting injured in an auto accident could provide a valid defense for missing a court date.

It is important to note that not receiving a notice to appear is not a solid defense for an FTA charge. It is your responsibility to notify the court of any address change. If you did not receive a notice to appear because you failed to notify the court, you would not be excused from the charge. A lawyer in Westminster could help you prepare a defense if you have been charged with failure to appear.

Speak with a Westminster Failure to Appear Attorney

Failing to appear at a required court date is a serious matter. Harsh penalties can result if convicted, so it is essential to hire a Westminster failure to appear lawyer to help defend you against these charges.

Our seasoned attorneys know precisely how to advocate effectively on your behalf. We could argue persuasively in your defense to have the matter resolved favorably. Contact our office today for a free consultation. Let us use our decades of experience to get you the result you need.

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