Criminal Defense in Ventura County
What Happens If I Miss My Court Date?

What Happens If I Miss My Court Date?

There are few things the court dislikes more than a missed court date. A court could demand your appearance for jury duty, for your own criminal trial or hearing, for a family law dispute, and much more. When a judge tells you to be in court at a certain time at a certain day, no matter the reason, it is essentially a temporary law that applies just to you. Failing to show up at your court date will be seen as a serious infraction that can bring about severe legal penalties.

What Happens When You Miss Your Court Date

  1. Bench warrant: The most common consequence of failing to show up at court is the creation of a bench warrant against you. A bench warrant is essentially an arrest warrant made specifically for your failure to appear, as it instructs law enforcement officers to bring you in. You will be held without bond when you are brought in until you can speak to a judge about why you missed your court date. If you missed a jury duty summons, a bench warrant may be on your name but police are rarely, if ever, instructed to seek them out actively; instead, you could be arrested if and when a police officer talks to you for any reason and discovers you have a bench warrant.
  2. Criminal penalties: If you intentionally avoided your court date and this can be proven, you will be held in contempt of court. This is a criminal violation and will include jail time and fines as part of its penalties. Criminal penalties are used as punishment usually only if the defendant was already accused and charged of another crime.
  3. Driver’s license suspension: In certain situations, it can be ordered that your driver’s license be suspended until you show up for court and sort out any preexisting legal issues. The suspension of an individual’s license is generally implemented if he or she was supposed to appear in court for another driving-related violation or citation.
  4. Bond: A judge may sometimes release someone from custody after a criminal arrest based on that person’s clean criminal record and good nature. Missing a court date will likely make the judge add a high bail amount to a case that previously had none at all.

Protecting Your Good Name & Freedom

When you know that you missed an important court date or summons, you can safely bet that there is a bench warrant on your name. At the very least, you know the court will not be appreciative of you the next time you do show up looking for help. If you want to clear the matter up and save as much face as possible, you should start by hiring a trustworthy criminal defense attorney.

Contact our Ventura criminal defense lawyers from The Law Offices of Jarrod M. Wilfert if you have missed a court date, especially one pertaining to a preexisting criminal case. We can hear your story and determine the best way to bring it before the judge, showing that your absence should be excusable. In the event that it seems the court will not forgive your missed court date, we can prepare an argument that seeks minimal penalty. No matter the avenue we explore, it is most important that you speak with us before the court or turning yourself in. Call 805.994.0560 for the legal guidance you need!