Showing up for a court-scheduled appearance is not optional, regardless of the level of offense you are facing. Whether you have been accused of a traffic violation, a misdemeanor, or a felony, when a judge sets a date for you to appear, they expect you to show up. If you do not, serious repercussions can follow, and your situation may not be easily rectified.
If you have disregarded an official summons to appear in court and are unsure how to proceed, consider speaking with a DeKalb County failure to appear lawyer. With their experience and knowledge of the judicial system, a skilled attorney could help you resolve this matter and avoid compounding your legal troubles.
When a person fails to appear in court, intentionally or unintentionally, everyone connected to the case is inconvenienced, including the judge, courtroom staff, prosecutors, police officers, and witnesses. Depending on the specific circumstances, violators face various penalties, such as:
Judges have overwhelming caseloads and do not appreciate having their orders disregarded. An individual who fails to appear risks irritating the judge presiding over their case and leaving a negative impression. An attorney who frequently practices before DeKalb County judges could help someone explain their reasons for missing their court appearance and minimize the potential consequences.
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated §§ 17-7-90 & 40-13-62 empowers judges to issue bench warrants for individuals who do not show up for traffic and criminal court proceedings. Before a court may sign a bench warrant for a criminal defendant, the person must have received notice of the time, date, and location of the hearing in one of three ways:
Bench warrants function as arrest warrants do, as they authorize the police to detain someone under suspicion of breaking the law. However, in most cases, the police do not actively search for the subject of a bench warrant. Instead, law enforcement receives notice of the warrant, and if an officer comes into contact with that person, like during a traffic stop, the officer must arrest them. It is possible for someone to go about their daily routine unaware that a warrant for their arrest exists.
Criminal defendants who jump bail face more significant consequences under O.C.G.A. § 16-10-51. The amount paid in fines and the length of additional jail time correspond to the underlying charges. For example, misdemeanor offenses correlate with misdemeanor bail jumping charges and felony offenses with felony bail jumping charges. The punishment for bail jumping includes fines of up to $5,000 and and a prison sentence of one to five years.
Consulting with a DeKalb County lawyer familiar with failure to appear cases could give a defendant a better chance to set things right with the court and avoid the harsh penalties.
The consequences for skipping a court appearance can be severe, and the significance of this offense should never be overlooked. However, if you present a compelling case to the judge explaining the reasons for your absence, you may be able to avoid these penalties. A seasoned DeKalb County failure to appear lawyer could take the necessary actions to address your mistake. Call today to schedule a consultation.