Courts and prosecutors take it seriously when someone does not attend court as scheduled. Missing a court date on a criminal matter can lead to additional charges and penalties. You need to resolve the situation as soon as possible to avoid increased consequences.
If you miss a scheduled court hearing, contact a criminal attorney immediately. A Norwich failure to appear lawyer at Ruane Attorneys can help explain your situation to the court and protect you from additional charges.
What Happens When Someone Does Not Attend Their Court Date?
Courts have heavy dockets, and cases must move forward when scheduled. If someone does not attend a hearing when required to appear, it inconveniences the court. In most cases, the court will issue a letter notifying the defendant of the missed date and informing them of the new date. The judge will issue a rearrest warrant if the defendant misses the second date. When the defendant has a prior criminal history, a pattern of failing to appear, or is a flight risk, a court might not send a letter. The judge could issue a rearrest warrant after the first failure to appear.
The police do not usually search for the subject of rearrest warrants, but any contact with police will result in arrest. The defendant will remain in jail until their arraignment on the failure to appear charge, which the prosecutor will add to the underlying charge. A judge might deny bond to someone who has failed to appear, and the individual might have to stay in jail while awaiting trial. To avoid these consequences, consulting a Norwich lawyer as soon as possible after a missed court appearance is crucial.
Consequences of Failure to Appear Charges in Norwich
Connecticut General Statutes §§53a-172, 173 describe the crime of failing to appear. Failing to appear for a court hearing on a felony charge is a Class D felony with a potential sentence of one to five years in state prison and a $5000 fine. If the underlying crime is a misdemeanor, failing to appear is a Class A misdemeanor. A defendant could face one year in jail and a $2000 fine if convicted.
These fines and penalties are in addition to those associated with the underlying crime. Even when a defendant is acquitted of the underlying offense, they still could face conviction for failure to appear.
There is no statute of limitations on a failure to appear charge. A person could stay out of trouble for decades, but if an officer pulls them over for a traffic violation, they could be arrested for failing to appear in court 30 years ago. It is best to resolve the failure to appear charges as soon as possible with help from an attorney at our firm.
Managing a Failure to Appear Charge
When a person quickly acknowledges their absence and expresses an intention to appear for all future dates, judges often cancel a rearrest warrant and prosecutors decline to press the failure to appear charge. However, the defendant must voluntarily acknowledge their failure to appear.
Contacting a Norwich attorney as soon as possible after a missed court date should be a priority. A lawyer could contact the court and appear with the defendant. They could present the reason for the non-appearance and assure the court that it will not happen again. The matter often ends there unless the defendant has a history of non-appearance.
Courts are less likely to be lenient if the defendant waits until they get arrested for failing to appear. The judge might be generous if the defendant could present a legitimate excuse for missing court. In other cases, the prosecutor might pursue the failure to appear charge along with the underlying charge, and the defendant will face additional punishment if convicted.
Contact a Norwich Attorney After Missing a Court Date
If a failure to appear was accidental and you promptly addressed the missed court date, you may be able to resolve the matter without serious consequences. However, ignoring a court date could lead to a rearrest warrant and expose you to significantly harsher penalties than you initially faced.
Contact a Norwich failure to appear lawyer immediately after missing a scheduled day in court. Ruane Attorneys can help explain your absence and prevent additional consequences. Call us today to discuss your situation.