Posted on September 28, 2015

What do I do if I missed my court date? │ Los Angeles Warrant Lawyer

If you’re charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, then by missing your court date, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Thus, if you have police contact, such as a traffic stop, the police officer will arrest you for an outstanding warrant. If you missed a court date for an infraction, such as a speeding or a fix-it ticket, then the court may issue a bench warrant but usually charge you with failing to appear. In all instances where you fail to appear in the court, the DMV will be notified and your driver’s license will be suspended. Therefore, if you’re pulled over by a police officer, not only will you be arrested for the outstanding warrant, but you can be additionally charged with driving on a suspended driver’s license – a conviction which carries a substantial amount in fines and fees and probation.

Missing a court appearance can be an unnerving feeling because there is no way for you to foresee whether you’ll have police contact. The only way to fix the problem is to attend court to recall the warrant and/or lift the hold off your driver’s license. There are three legitimate reasons for missing a court date: (1) medical / hospital; (2) incarceration; (3) military duty.

In a felony case, in order to recall the warrant, your physical presence is mandatory. Your attorney cannot attend court on your behalf. In addition, the court could elect to remand you into custody and you will be in custody until the conclusion of the case. Also, your bail, assuming you posted bond, will be forfeited and you may have civil liabilities with the bail bonds company.

In misdemeanor cases, you may or may not have to attend court. In most instances, you can retain a private attorney who can attend court on your behalf to recall and quash the bench warrant. However, some courts and even judges differ. Some judges require your physical presence whereas some do not. Usually the judge will look and see what you’re charged with. For instance, if you’re charged with public intoxication and you miss your court date, then the court will most likely recall the warrant through your attorney without you being physically present. However, if you’re charged with criminal threats or assault with a deadly weapon as a misdemeanor, then the judge will most likely require your physical appearance. If you cannot afford to retain private counsel, then you must appear in court and the court will appoint the services of the public defender.

As noted above, in most infraction cases, such as traffic court, the judge will not often issue a bench warrant. Instead, you’ll likely be charged with a failure to appear (“FTA”). In that instance, you may owe an additional $300 on top of the infraction offense. Furthermore, in order to lift the hold off your driver’s license, you or your lawyer must be physically present in front of the judge to do so.

If you missed a court date then it’s in your best interest to contact an attorney who can recall the warrant. You do not want to be brought before the judge in law enforcement custody. If you have an outstanding warrant, contact Los Angeles Warrant Attorney John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers. Call 877-888-9820 for a free confidential consultation about recalling your warrant.

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