If you miss a court hearing which you were ordered to attend as a defendant, the judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest. A bench warrant directs law enforcement to take a person into custody and bring that individual before the court to address the reason the warrant was issued. If you are picked up, you could be held in jail until the court has a hearing on your case – unless you post a high bond or pay court fees.
Consequences of Missing a Court Appearance
Depending on the charges, you might be required to appear in court several times throughout a criminal case – for an arraignment, pre-trial conference, hearing, trial, sentencing, etc. If you fail to appear as ordered, you have violated the court order and the judge can charge you with the crime of failure to appear or contempt of court.
In connection with a felony charge, or while awaiting sentence or pending appeal after conviction for an offense, failure to appear is a felony punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years and a maximum fine of $5,000.
What happens if I miss my court date for a misdemeanor?
If you are charged with a misdemeanor, failure to appear at your court date is a misdemeanor punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year or a maximum fine provided for the misdemeanor.
Consult with a Lawyer Today
If you know you missed a court appearance or discover a court has issued a warrant against you, consult with a lawyer immediately. Our Anchorage criminal defense attorneys at Denali Law Group understands the alternatives available to you, so you can avoid going to jail for failing to appear in court.