If you were arrested for a minor infraction, a misdemeanor, or even a minor felony, you might have been released from jail pending further court proceedings. Whether the court accepted bail or released you on your own recognizance, you were released on the condition that you appear for your scheduled court dates.
Failing to show up for court is a crime, so it is wise to be proactive if you missed a court date. If you have found yourself in this situation, reach out to a Junction City failure to appear lawyer right away. A knowledgeable attorney could work with you to clear any warrants and get the matter resolved.
Court Appearances Are Not Voluntary
Court appearances are not like other appointments —you do not get to pick a time convenient for you. Courts everywhere have heavy caseloads. When someone misses court, the inability to hear the matter at the scheduled time interferes with the court’s ability to handle its work efficiently.
Most states try to encourage people to show up as scheduled by making it a crime to fail to appear in court. Kansas Statutes Annotated §21-5915 says that if someone does not make a scheduled court appearance, they have 30 days to come to court and explain their lapse. This is called a “surrender.” If an individual “surrenders” and expresses remorse for missing their original court date, it could be possible to get a new court date without further consequences.
However, if 30 days pass and the individual has not “surrendered,” the court could charge them with failure to appear. This new charge would be raised to aggravated failure to appear if the original arrest was on a felony charge. A Junction City attorney could help an individual “surrender” after missing a court date or provide counsel on the next steps if the 30-day window since failing to appear has passed.
Failing to Appear Has Consequences
Being charged with failure to appear could result in an immediate suspension of an individual’s driver’s license. If law enforcement then pulls the person over, they will be subject to arrest for driving with an invalid license and could face six months in jail and a $1000 fine for that offense.
In addition, the court might issue a bench warrant for the individual’s arrest. Although law enforcement officers generally do not search for the subject of a bench warrant, it does exist in the police database. If the subject of a bench warrant has any interaction with the police, they will face arrest.
An individual convicted of failure to appear could face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1000. When the charge is raised to aggravated failure to appear, they could face seven months in jail and a fine of up to $100,000. These penalties are in addition to any the individual might face from the original arrest.
Addressing Legal Penalties
It is dangerous for someone to assume that failing to appear to a court date will not have significant impacts on their life. Once a judge has suspended an individual’s driver’s license or issued a bench warrant, resolving the matter becomes more complicated. Legal repercussions are serious, and anyone facing failure to appear charges should consult with a legal professional right away to ensure that punishments are not exacerbated further.
A well-versed lawyer in the area could present the individual’s reasons for failing to appear to the judge. In some cases, the court might be willing to release the individual if they provide bail or other assurances that they will attend all further court dates. Depending on the circumstances, it could be possible to negotiate a resolution to the underlying charges, the failure to appear charge, and any other pending matters all at once.
Work with a Knowledgeable Junction City Failure to Appear Attorney
Facing a criminal charge can be stressful. While missing a court date may seem like an easy way to avoid the situation, judges take this very seriously and legal repercussions can be severe.
Do not live with the threat of arrest on a bench warrant. Instead, work with a seasoned Junction City failure to appear lawyer to resolve your charges. Our dedicated legal team could assess your situation, develop a legal strategy, and help you move on with your life. Call today to learn more.