What is “failure to appear” in court?

Persons assigned a court date for criminal proceedings in Florida must appear as mandated. Failure to appear in court might lead to severe repercussions, and the court would doubtfully accept weak arguments for failing to show up. Additionally, failing to appeal in court is a criminal offense, possibly a felony.

Not showing up in court in Florida

Anyone who does not show up on a scheduled court date will likely have a warrant issued for his or her arrest. The warrant instructs law enforcement to arrest the person since the arrest and confinement eventually lead to an appearance in court. These results may happen even for someone who does not show up in court to deal with a minor traffic ticket. For someone out on bail, the penalties could be even worse.

Those who post bail secure their release from jail pending court proceedings. Anyone out on bail who fails to appear may find the outcome problematic. Bail could end up revoked, meaning the defendant may remain in jail after the arrest pending the trial’s outcome.

A bail bonds company might keep the money it fronted to secure the initial release. Perhaps the bail bonds service may even foreclose on any collateral used to pay the initial bail amount. And then there are other possible repercussions beyond financial ones.

Criminal charges for not appearing

Under Florida law, the willful decision to not appear in court might result in criminal charges, either a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony of the third degree. The severity depends on the accused’s initial charges.

Defendants with concerns about theft or general criminal defense, including issues with failure to appear, may need to speak with an attorney. An attorney could represent a client in criminal court and devise a defense strategy.

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