What If I Miss My Court Date?

Bail is used as a way for someone who’s been arrested for a crime to avoid staying in jail while they await their trial.  It allows the defendant to continue to work a job, be with family, and remain a productive member of society while it also provides a monetary incentive for the defendant to show up for scheduled court dates.  It curbs prison overcrowding, lets innocent people avoid jail time, and allows people arrested of minor crimes to avoid being put in jail with violent criminals. The bail system is an across-the-board win.

But what happens if you miss your scheduled court appearance?   

What Happens

Missing court is a serious offense.  You’ve made a legal agreement with the court and you failed to do your part.  Once you’ve missed your court date, the court will issue a bench warrant for you and your information will be put into a database which police are able to search.  This means that if you are stopped by police for even a minor traffic infraction, the warrant will pop up when they look up your license or your name in the system.  You will be arrested on the spot for having an outstanding warrant and this time, your original bail will most likely be revoked and you’ll have to remain in jail until your trial.  If you were arrested for a more serious crime, a criminal warrant may be issued which means there would be an active search for you.  

If the reason for missing your court date was due to a death in your immediate family, you were in a car accident on your way to court, or you had a serious illness and can prove any of it, the judge may be sympathetic and not revoke your original bail. 

What You Should Do

Call your lawyer or the court clerk if you knew ahead of time that you’ll be unable to be there.  If you’re incapacitated, have a family member or friend do it. If you don’t have a serious reason for not being able to show, they’ll deny your request for a rescheduled date.  Even if you have a good excuse, there’s no guarantee that they’ll accept the request. It’s up to the judge. It does, however, show that you’re trying to work things out and you’re not just ignoring the situation.

If you already missed it, call the court clerk and find out if there has been a bench warrant issued for you.  Even if there hasn’t been one, call your lawyer about making arrangements to turn yourself in for a hearing. Again, this shows that you’re taking it seriously.  If you’re lucky, the judge won’t revoke bail at this time. 

If the judge does revoke your bail, it means you’ll forfeit your bond and will lose any collateral you put down to cover your bail.  It also means that if you’re arrested again, the judge will think twice before granting bail because of your previous failure to appear charge.  There may also be fines and loss of your driver’s license.

By acting quickly after you missed your court date and calling your lawyer and your bail bond agent, you may be able to avoid having your bail revoked, and sometimes, even if it is, you can make arrangements so you won’t lose your collateral.

The best way to avoid any of these problems is by not missing your appearances in court.  Check the times as well as the dates and set reminders on your phone. Tell friends or family members so they can remind you.  Ask your bail bond agent to remind you. Sometimes they’ll even give you a ride to court. They don’t want you to miss your dates either!At 1st Knight Bail Bonds, our bond agents will work quickly to get you out of jail and our expert staff can help you through the entire bail bond process, ensuring that you know exactly when and where you need to be for court.  If you’ve been arrested, call 1st Knight Bail Bonds at (727)538-7727.  We’re here 24/7 and we always answer!