What To Do When You’re Charged With Failure To Appear
Failure to appear in court is a separate criminal charge you could face if you have been charged with a crime and miss a court date. Once you are caught and charged, you will face possible jail time. In addition, the judge will be more likely to impose a more severe penalty on the underlying charge.
If you miss a court date, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can explain your situation to the judge, argue that you deserve another chance, and minimize the severity of any additional penalties. But you must act quickly to avoid having a warrant issued for your arrest.
Failure to Appear Law and Penalties
The seriousness of a failure to appear charge, also known as an FTA, will depend on the nature of the underlying criminal charges. If you have been charged with a felony and fail to appear for a court date, you will face failure to appear felony charges. If you fail to appear in court for a misdemeanor charge, you will face failure to appear misdemeanor charges.
Felony-level failure to appear is a Class D felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Failure to appear for a misdemeanor criminal charge is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a fine of $2,000.
Will I Be Arrested If I Missed My Court Date?
You can be charged with failure to appear when you miss a court date, regardless of the reason. If you are not in court when your case is called, the judge can issue a warrant for your arrest. Eventually, the police will find you, they will arrest you, you will be held in jail, and you will go to court for both the underlying criminal charge and the FTA.
However, if you can prove that your absence was not willful and you had a good reason for missing your court date, you might be able to avoid a conviction for failure to appear.
Can I Avoid Criminal Charges for Failure to Appear in Court?
Obviously, the best way to avoid an FTA charge is to go to court at the scheduled time. But people are human, and mistakes happen. People miss court for a variety of reasons, including
- Illness of someone in their care
- Mistake as to the date or location of the hearing
- Work obligations
- Ineffective legal counsel
- Fear of the legal process
- A move out of state
If you had a good reason for missing court, the judge will be more likely to believe your failure to appear was unintentional if your lawyer provides an apology and an explanation soon after your missed appearance. When you hire Attorney Lebedevitch after missing a court date, he will intervene quickly to explain why your failure to appear was unintentional and help you avoid an FTA charge.
Is There a Statute of Limitations for Failure to Appear Charges?
There is no statute of limitations for a failure to appear charge. Until you resolve an FTA charge, there will be an outstanding warrant for your arrest, and the failure to appear charge will show up on criminal background checks in Connecticut and other states. Criminal databases across the country are connected, and information is shared between police departments. So even if you move out of state, the failure to appear will still come up in a background check, and the warrant for your arrest will remain active.
The Lebedevitch Law Firm Can Help
If you missed your court date, you should contact The Lebedevitch Law Firm as quickly as possible. Attorney Lebedevitch can act quickly to explain your failure to appear to the judge, make it less likely that the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest, and minimize the severity of any punishments associated with the FTA.
The Lebedevitch Law Firm has years of experience defending people accused of crimes in Connecticut. Attorney Lebedevitch will work hard to learn about your situation and circumstances and intervene to avoid the most severe punishments. He can help with both the FTA and the underlying criminal charges and will work to reduce the severity of any penalties you might face.
The Lebedevitch Law Firm is based in Fairfield, Connecticut, and proudly represents people in Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Darien, Rowayton, Fairfield, Trumbull, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Danbury, New Haven, Bethany, Woodbridge, Milford, Stratford, Bridgeport, and throughout the state.
To learn more about attorney Stephen Lebedevitch, read reviews from other people he has helped and learn why people choose Stephen. Then contact The Lebedevitch Law Firm today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.