Winter Garden Failure to Appear Lawyer

When a person is arrested and released from jail, they promise to attend court as directed. Similarly, if a person pleads not guilty to a traffic infraction, a court sets a hearing date to resolve the matter. If the person does not show up for the hearing, they could be charged with another crime, failure to appear.

If you fail to appear to answer a misdemeanor charge, failing to appear will be a misdemeanor. Similarly, failure to answer to a felony charge can be a felony. In either case, this is an additional legal complication you do not need.

If you missed a court date, contact a Winter Garden failure to appear lawyer immediately. A reliable defense attorney from the Umansky Law Firm could help you explain the situation and avoid the potentially severe consequences of skipping court.

The Law Requires Court Attendance

Missing a court date results in a judge issuing a Failure to Appear (FTA) warrant. The FTA warrant allows the police to arrest its subject for ignoring a court date. When the police arrest someone on an FTA warrant, the person cannot be released on bond prior to their hearing on the failure to appear warrant. Instead, they will remain jailed until a judge can question them and determine whether to allow bail.

An individual who fails to appear usually forfeits any money or property they deposited or pledged as part of bond or bail. In addition, a prosecutor could bring a charge related to a failure to appear. Florida Statute § 843.15 says that someone who fails to appear without a valid excuse is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor unless the matter they failed to appear for is a felony. In the latter case, a failure to appear is a third-degree felony.

The penalties for failure to appear depend on multiple factors, including the defendant’s criminal history, the nature of the underlying charge, and whether the defendant mistakenly missed their court date or was trying to evade justice. A Winter Garden attorney could advise a defendant about the penalties they could face due to missing a court appearance.

Defenses to a Failure to Appear Warrant

A person must willfully miss a court date to be guilty of the crime of failure to appear. In some cases, a person might unintentionally or unavoidably miss their court appearance. If the absence was not willful, the court might entertain a motion to vacate the warrant and restore the individual’s bond.

Not every excuse will satisfy the court. For example, an accused is responsible for ensuring the court clerk has their proper address. If a notice of hearing was sent to the wrong address, a court might not excuse an accused for missing the hearing. Similarly, having to work is usually not an excuse for missing court. However, if the accused can present evidence that there was a death in the family, a failure of transportation on the way to court, a bona fide medical emergency involving the accused, their spouse, or one of their children, or similarly unexpected and unavoidable event, the court might grant the motion.

The accused must act quickly to get legal help, however. A Winter Garden attorney must file a motion within 60 days of the missed date to ask a judge to recall the FTA warrant.

Resolve a Failure to Appear Charge with a Winter Garden Attorney

If you missed a court date, you could compound the legal consequences you face. Even if you have no good excuse for missing court, acknowledging the mistake and promising not to miss court again could keep you out of jail while you await proceedings on the underlying matter.

A Winter Garden failure to appear lawyer knows how to present your reasons for missing court in the best possible light. Call today to get the help of a seasoned legal professional.

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    Winter Garden Failure to Appear Lawyer