When you agree to appear in court or the judge orders you to appear in court at a specific date and time, you must respect that obligation. Failing to appear in court as ordered can have disastrous consequences, including the judge issuing a bench warrant for your failure to appear.
Whether you already have failed to appear or you fear that you will be unable to appear at an upcoming court date, a Mecklenburg County failure to appear lawyer may be able to assist you in avoiding or minimizing the potentially adverse ramifications of a failure to appear. Since failure to appear is an independent criminal charge in Virginia, as well as a basis for civil contempt of court, you may face an additional criminal conviction and sentence in addition to the underlying criminal charge for which you failed to appear in court.
Therefore, even if you can overcome the original criminal charges that you are facing, you still may end up with penalties for your failure to appear. A seasoned criminal defense attorney might be able to advocate on your behalf and reach the best possible resolution in your case.
Although most law enforcement authorities do not spend most of their resources tracking down individuals who have failed to appear in court, they have the power to arrest individuals with pending arrest warrants at any time and any place.
While many individuals with bench warrants end up in jail when police stop them for an unrelated traffic violation, police can arrest them at their workplaces in front of co-workers and customers or at their homes in front of their families. Plus, once an arrest on a bench warrant occurs, it may be more challenging to avoid the potential consequences of failing to appear.
Individuals who believe that they have missed a court date accidentally or who have a valid reason for their failure to appear may wish to contact a lawyer in Mecklenberg County immediately. Legal counsel may be able to clear the warrant by contacting the court or prosecutor, depending on the circumstances. While this is not always a viable option, it may be a means of avoiding some of the more undesirable repercussions of a failure to appear in court.
To some degree, the punishments that individuals may face for a failure to appear depend on the underlying crime with which they are charged. For instance, if individuals are accused of a misdemeanor, any criminal charge resulting from a failure to appear may be a misdemeanor. A conviction for a misdemeanor offense generally can result in up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
The same is true for an underlying felony criminal charge; a failure to appear in the felony case can result in felony failure to appear charges. A felony conviction can result in a prison sentence ranging from one to five years, as well as $2,500 in fines.
The other potential outcome of a failure to appear in court is a contempt of court citation, which carries a more lenient possible punishment. Contempt of court can result in a maximum of 10 days in jail and a $250 fine. As an experienced attorney in Mecklenburg County may advise, however, there is no guarantee that individuals automatically will receive this lenient punishment for a failure to appear and avoid a separate criminal charge.
Failing to appear in court is likely to only create additional legal problems for yourself. Whether you receive a contempt citation or another criminal charge for failing to appear, you risk going to jail and incurring additional fines. Contacting a Mecklenburg County failure to appear lawyer when you are in this situation may be the most effective solution to your problems.
Even if you already have a warrant for your arrest, legal counsel still may be able to take steps to avoid some of the potential penalties that you might face for a failure to appear. However, handling this situation proactively can be critical to a more favorable result, as ignoring the issue is only likely to create more significant problems for you.
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