When you’re scheduled to appear in court–whether it’s for something as minor as a traffic violation that you’re fighting or something as major as a felony charge–it’s imperative that you show up on your court date. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to forget about a court date or face extenuating circumstances that prevent them from attending. If this is a situation that you’re currently in, then you might be wondering, “what do I do if I missed a court date or have a bench warrant?”
What is a Bench Warrant?
If you’ve already missed your court date, there’s a good chance that the judge as issued what’s known as a bench warrant. When you have a bench warrant, this means that police officers are legally able to arrest you and hold you in jail until you take care of your missed court appearance. A bench warrant is similar to a traditional arrest warrant with the exception that bench warrants are almost explicitly issued as a result of a missed court appearance.
Simply put, if you missed your court date and now have a bench warrant out, the next time you get pulled over or have any other police encounter, there’s a good chance you’ll be going to jail.
Potential Consequences of Missing a Court Date
Nothing good typically comes out of missing a court date. At the very least, you will have a bench warrant issued for your arrest. However, there are a number of other circumstances you could face as a result.
For starters, failure to appear in court can result in the addition of more charges and fines. You may also be required to pay a higher bond or forfeit any bond you posted to get out of jail in the first place. In serious circumstances, your ability to post bond could be revoked entirely and you could be forced to stay in jail until your case in heard in court.
In some states, your driver’s license can even be suspended or revoked upon failing to appear in court.
The Importance of Acting Quickly
If you’ve missed a scheduled court date for any reason, it’s imperative that you act quickly in getting the situation taken care of. Don’t wait until the next time you’re pulled over when you may be on your way to work or even have children in the car. Instead, be proactive in taking care of your bench warrant and the judge will likely be more understanding than if you were to ignore the situation altogether.
In most cases, you can call your local court office and arrange to have the matter taken care of. This may mean scheduling a time to come in a pay your bail so as to avoid being arrested again and have your warrant recalled.
Why Hire an Attorney?
Before you call the court, however, it’s a good idea to begin working with a reputable defense attorney. With the proper legal guidance, you may be able to appear directly at an arrangement as opposed to being arrested on your bench warrant. Furthermore, an experienced attorney may be able to get an arraignment scheduled right away, rather than you having to be arrested and wait for another trial. Of course, this can all vary greatly on a case-to-case basis.
Missing a court date is never beneficial, but what’s done is done. Your next step is being proactive in getting the situation handled properly. For assistance with taking care of your bench warrant for a missed court date, please contact us today. Our hard-working and experienced attorneys are here to help.