Grapevine Failure to Appear Lawyer
Missing a court date may seems like a forgivable mistake, but it is a serious criminal matter in Texas. Unless you have a very good excuse, such as having been in an emergency room, it is very likely the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest for failing to appear to a court setting.
If you recently missed a court date, it is imperative you contact our Grapevine failure to appear lawyers right away. We’ve handled countless incidents in which defendants have failed to appear and we will work diligently to avoid the harsh penalties associated with this charge. Speak with our skilled defense attorneys today.
What are the Penalties for Missing a Court Date?
In Texas, under Texas Penal Code §38.10, a person commits “bail jumping” and “failure to appear” if after a person is released from jail they fail to reappear in court. When this happens the court will hold the bond insufficient, and then forfeit the bond thereby causing a warrant to be issued to for the person’s arrest.
The severity of failing to attend a court date is determined, in part, by the crime for which the defendant is required to appear. For example, if you fail to appear for a misdemeanor offense the penalty will be less serve than skipping court for a felony charge.
When you miss a court date, the following will happen:
- The judge will hold your bond insufficient, giving you a few hours to get to court to rectify your mistake.
- The judge will forfeit your bond. This means a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Generally if and when a new bond is set, it is at least double the last bond.
- The DA will decide if a new case will be filed against you.
The charges and penalties for missing court include:
- If the original charge with a Class C misdemeanor, the new bail jumping charge is punishable by a Class C misdemeanor.
- If the original charge was a Class A or B misdemeanor, the new charge for failing to appear is punishable by up to a year in the county jail and a $4000 fine.
- If the original charge was a felony, the new charge is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
If you skipped court and have a warrant, the worst thing you can do is prolong the inevitable. Contact our lawyers in Grapevine today so we can put a plan into place to resolve the warrant and minimize your penalties for failing to appear.
What are the Possible Defenses for Failing to Appear?
Don’t go it alone. Resolving a failure to appear warrant should be left to a Grapevine attorney experienced with handling these kinds of cases. If your attorney is able to present a viable reason for your absence, they may be able to work with the judge in an effort to avoid jail time.
There are a variety of defenses that may be acceptable as a “reasonable excuse” for missing a court date. This could include a car accident, being hospitalized, the death of a family member, or failure to receive proper notice of the court date. Oversleeping or failing to find a ride are generally not sufficient to excuse an individual from missing a court date.
Additionally, serving time somewhere else is a possible defense for failing to appear before a court. For example, if you could not appear for a court date because you were in jail in another jurisdiction, you should be excused for the missed court date.
What Happens if Someone Does Not Have a Defense for Failing to Appear?
If there is not an acceptable defense or excuse, your freedom may be in jeopardy. Failure to appear, or bail jumping, is a separate offense, which could also appear on your criminal record and, most likely, will make your current legal problems worse.
Contact a Grapevine Failure to Appear Lawyer Right Away
Missing a court date will only exacerbate your legal problems. If you skipped court for any reason at all, it’s imperative to speak with a skilled attorney right away so they can get in front of it in an effort to avoid additional ramifications. We can help. Contact a Grapevine failure to appear lawyer today to begin discussing your options.