Few people have experience in settings as serious and as formal as the criminal court system. While you might think it's OK to be late or miss an appointment in your day to day life, missing a court date has very swift and very severe consequences. Here's what could happen if you miss your court date and what you need to do about it.
Your Lawyer Might Be Able to Get a Short Delay
If you have a lawyer and they make it to court and you do not, they might be able to get a short delay for you to get there. There are often numerous cases for the judge to go through, and it might just be as simple as letting other people go ahead in the line.
If your case is called before you get there, the lawyer might be able to convince the judge to call your case again later to give you time to get there. However, this will be no longer than an hour or two or after lunch, and you'll probably be billed for your lawyer's time.
A Warrant Will Be Issued For Your Arrest
Once the judge's patience runs out or if there are no more cases for the day, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. The good news is that police won't be instantly sent out to find you.
The bad news is that if you get pulled over or go somewhere where law enforcement checks your ID, they will see the warrant and immediately take you into custody. If you're just slow to arrive and get to court the same day, the warrant will usually be withdrawn by the judge.
If you're later arrested, you could find yourself in jail for hours or even over the weekend while you wait for court to reopen.
Your Bail Will Be Revoked
Because bail is a guarantee that you will make your court dates, your bail will be at risk. There are three possible outcomes.
First, if you were only a little late, the judge might let you off with a scolding and leave the bail in place.
Second, if this is not your first time being late or missing a court date, the judge might require you to post a higher bail.
Finally, if the judge believes you aren't respecting the process, you may forfeit your bail to the court and be held in jail until trial.
If you've missed your court date, contact a local criminal defense attorney—like Anggelis & Gordon Attorneys or another firm—immediately to get help resolving the situation.