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Thinking About Skipping Your Court Date?

Thinking About Skipping Your Court Date?

By Jesse Fellabaum

If you have been charged with a crime and got out of jail on bail, you are possibly dreading your looming court date. Maybe you’re even thinking about not showing up to the face the music. Making the decision not to appear creates problems, legal and financial, for more people than just yourself.

Let’s explore what happens if you decide to pass on appearing in court as ordered (legally called “Failure to Appear” or FTA). In most cases, there are two types of people who miss court appearances.

  • Type 1: Defendants facing a misdemeanor charge. They didn’t appear as ordered for any one or more of the following reasons:
    • forgot the date
    • has relocated and didn’t receive the notice
    • is afraid of the consequences, can’t afford the fines and fees
    • can’t take off work
  • Type 2: Defendants who probably had little to no intention of showing up from the start. Most likely, this defendant has a criminal history and may be looking at mandatory jail time for the most recent offense.

Assuming you are Type 1 defendant, a call to the company that put up your bond will help you gain an ally to help negotiate with the court. Did you know that even the courts accept payment plans? That’s a situation that can be fixed.

To learn what happens to Type 2 defendants, watch this blog for a future post. Spoiler alert: Expect additional felony charges, larger fines and stiffer legal consequences – especially if you leave the state.

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