Regardless of the reason, when someone misses a Court appearance, the justice system could punish those who fail to appear. Failure to appear charges are unrelated to any charges that may be pending before the Court. Because of this, charges for missing your court date may carry separate penalties.
If you missed a Court appearance, for whatever reason, a dedicated West Palm Beach failure to appear lawyer could advise you on what steps may prevent or mitigate the consequences of a failure to appear charge. Our seasoned Defense Attorneys at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert may be able to help.
Failure to Appear Penalties in West Palm Beach
Defendants who did not appear after the Court released them on bail may face two penalties under Florida Statute Section 843.15. First, any Defendant who fails to appear usually forfeits the security bond that secured their release.
The second punishment depends on the type of charge a Defendant initially faced. If someone charged with a Felony does not attend a Court appearance, a new failure to appear charge could be pressed. Generally, failure to appear for a Felony could lead to an additional Third-Degree Felony charge and a potential jail sentence of maximum five years, up to $5,000 in fines, or both.
If the Defendant was initially charged with a Misdemeanor, the Court might charge them with an additional First-Degree Misdemeanor for failure to appear. This could be penalized by a maximum sentence of one year in jail, a fine up to $1,000, or both.
Regardless of charges, anyone who has failed to appear for a Court date may want to discuss potential penalties with a West Palm Beach lawyer at Leifert & Leifert. Since failure to appear charges are unrelated to initial charges, the Court penalizes people for failing to appear even if they are found not guilty on any underlying charge.
Additional Consequences for Failing to Appear in Court
In addition to any criminal charges, it is possible that a bench warrant could be issued after an individual fails to attend a scheduled Court date. Typically, the police may seek out or arrest anyone with a warrant during an encounter, such as a traffic stop.
An attorney in West Palm Beach may be able to help minimize these consequences following a failure to appear charge. They could help an individual determine if a warrant has been lawfully attained or if all proper procedures have been followed. Other potential consequences for missing a court date could include:
- Ineligibility for unemployment benefits
- Ineligibility for government benefits
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Warrant appearing on background checks
Severity of a Bench Warrant Being Issued
When a person is issued a bench warrant for failing to appear in Court in West Palm Beach, they should take the matter seriously. When the Court issues this type of order against someone, they are indicating to law enforcement that they should arrest the individual since they may not have the intention to honor their charges. A bench warrant could also increase the seriousness of a person’s initial charge.
Individuals issued a bench warrant for failing to appear in Court in West Palm Beach should reach out to an attorney for figuring out what to do next.
Steps to Take After a Failure to Appear Charge
Following a failure to appear, there are a number of legal options you may have. After consulting with an experienced Lawyer, you may choose to proceed by filing a motion to surrender. This means, rather than risking arrest, you surrender to the Court.
Depending on the circumstances, a West Palm Beach attorney may suggest filing a motion to withdraw the Court finding of failure to appear. In this situation, the Court may grant a new Court date. Speaking with a legal representative and informing them of the entire set of facts could help you determine the most favorable course of action.
Let a West Palm Beach Failure to Appear Attorney Assist You
No matter the reason someone failed to appear, there could be potential consequences. It may benefit you to speak with an Attorney, understand the legal options, and avoid activities that could elevate charges.
Attorneys at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert understand the legal processes behind a failure to appear charge. If you are unsure of what legal options may be available, contact our offices for a free case review. Let a West Palm Beach failure to appear Lawyer advise you and your family on the steps to protect you in your unique situation.