People fail to appear in court for various reasons. In some cases, they forget or make a mistake about their court dates, and in other cases, they purposely do not appear to avoid unwanted consequences. Whatever your situation may be, you would likely benefit from the counsel of a Deerfield Beach failure to appear lawyer.
Failing to appear in court can result in a whole host of repercussions, including additional criminal charges with separate penalties. Therefore, failing to appear in court may make your situation go from bad to worse. To minimize the impact of a failure to appear case, consider contacting a criminal attorney for legal guidance.
Potential Charges for Failing to Appear in Court on a Criminal Charge
Under Fl. Stat. § 843.15, individuals can face a separate first-degree misdemeanor charge for failing to appear at any hearing in a misdemeanor criminal case. If individuals fail to appear at any hearing in a felony criminal case, then they can face third-degree felony failure to appear charges. This failure to appear criminal charge is in addition to the criminal charges that they already were facing when they failed to appear in court.
These criminal charges may apply whenever individuals have posted bail in a criminal case and are on pre-trial release. In every criminal case, the court will order the person charged with the crime to appear periodically in court for different proceedings. Failing to appear at any of those proceedings can result in a failure to appear criminal charge.
Furthermore, prosecutors may choose to hold individuals in contempt of court rather than pursue a separate failure to appear charge. A court can hold individuals in contempt of court for failing to appear in court as ordered if the evidence indicates that they willfully or intentionally failed to appear in court. As the penalties for separate failure to appear criminal charges or contempt findings may be severe, consulting with a failure to appear lawyer in Deerfield Beach may be highly advantageous.
Penalties for Failure to Appear
A conviction for a failure to appear charge can have various penalties. For instance, a first-degree misdemeanor charge for failure to appear can cause a jail sentence of up to one year and a $1,000 fine. A conviction for a third-degree felony failure to appear charge can result in a five-year prison sentence and $5,000 fine. These penalties are on top of any penalties that the individuals receive for their underlying criminal convictions.
In some cases, the court will issue a warrant on the failure to appear charge that may not entitle the persons to bond once arrested. Individuals may forfeit any bail or security already posted when they originally were released from jail. Another potential consequence may include a suspension of all driving privileges until the failure to appear warrant is resolved.
Resolving a Failure to Appear Warrant
Individuals have different options for handling an outstanding failure to appear warrant. A Deerfield Beach failure to appear lawyer can analyze individual situations and determine the best course of action to handle the matter with a minimal impact on the existing criminal case. For instance, legal counsel may be able to arrange for individuals to surrender themselves in court on the warrant, or to report to the jail to turn themselves in at an appointed time.
However, leaving a failure to appear warrant outstanding can be a choice with unwanted consequences. The court is not likely to look kindly on individuals who refuse to turn themselves in on outstanding failure to appear warrants. The longer the warrants remain active, the more likely it is that the judge will not grant the individuals bond in the future.
A Deerfield Beach Failure to Appear Attorney May Be Able to Help
Failing to appear in court on a criminal matter can lead to adverse ramifications that can worsen your existing situation. You may face additional charges and penalties and ultimately may become ineligible for bond. A Deerfield Beach failure to appear lawyer can be instrumental in your ability to avoid these and other unanticipated consequences.
With legal counsel on your side, you may be in a better position to fight back against these additional charges. You may be able to work toward a resolution that reduces your possible penalties and clears any outstanding warrants from your record.