What Happens if You Don't Show Up to Court?
Receiving a requirement to appear in court is an uncomfortable and often stressful situation for many people. It’s important to realize, however, that if you or a loved one has been issued a notice to appear, this is a formal and legally-binding directive.
Some people choose to dismiss subpoenas and legal documentation. They could even make light of the whole ordeal. Others legitimately forget to show up for a court dates. The fact is, skipping out on a court date is not only no laughing matter, but it’s also illegal. You could face jail time, fines, and all the unsavory scenarios that go along with it.
Thankfully, there are ways you can prevent further complication surrounding your legal matter. Here are some of the most important:
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
You may find yourself in a situation where you were a witness to illegal activity. In this case, it’s understandable that you might be hesitant to appear in court, where you’ll come face-to-face with the alleged perpetrators of the crime.
Still, if you’ve received a subpoena, it’s essential to realize that this is an official legal request. Violating this directive by not showing up is a punishable offense. Usually referred to as being in “contempt of court,” this designation comes with fines and possible jail time. That’s not to mention what effects a criminal designation could have on your reputation, family life, long-term employment, and similar.
In other situations, you may have been directly involved in a crime, but resist appearing in court out of fear of retaliation or immediate retribution to yourself and/or your loved ones. In this case, it’s best to contact a trusted and reputable Daytona Beach criminal attorney who can offer valuable advice and guidance as you navigate the next steps in this sometimes-confusing process.
Understand the Consequences
As previously stated, it’s never a good idea to turn a blind eye to any kind of formal request. This is especially true in the case of court proceedings. While specifics vary by state, when you don’t show up to scheduled court action, your case will incur a failure to appear designation. This typically occurs 20 days after your initial court date.
During this time, you will likely incur fines and additional court costs. You could also experience other consequences (depending on the specifics of your case), including drivers license suspension and/or an order for your arrest.
As mentioned, there are moments where you might legitimately forget to appear in court. This scenario can be explained and formally assessed. When you have questions or concerns, it’s best to team with Daytona Beach lawyers well-versed in all aspects of criminal law.
Communicate Early and Honestly
You may be wondering what happens when you’re directed to appear in court, but are on vacation, suffering an illness, or other scenario that bars you from meeting your legal obligation.
In this case, it’s essential that you immediately contact the court to schedule a new appearance date. You may be required to furnish documented proof that backs up your claim. In the case of vacation, you may be instructed to cut short your original plans so that you can make the new court date.
When you have questions or concerns about the legal specifics surrounding your case, your best move is to contact Volusia County attorneys who can help you make sense of this often confusing moment.
Connect with a Dependable Attorney
If you’ve already found yourself in a sticky legal situation (for whatever reason), contact a dependable Daytona criminal lawyer at once who can assist you in the next steps of your legal journey.
Since 1983, we’ve assisted countless individuals and business leaders across Central Florida in a variety of legal scenarios. Along with criminal defense, Rice Law Firm also concentrates in the areas of business and corporate law, divorce and family law, personal injury and wrongful death, and more. In addition, we’re proud to have built a solid reputation as some of the most thorough and reliable attorneys in Daytona Beach, Florida. Contact us today with all your legal questions, or to get started on your specific case.
Posted: April 11, 2019