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Failure to Appear in Court: What Happens When You Don’t Show

Criminal Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Failure to Appear in Court: What Happens When You Don’t Show

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Failure to Appear in Court in Texas

When someone is given a court summons in Texas, they are expected to show up on the appointed date at the correct time. Failing to appear in court at the specified time could potentially be met with serious penalties. Courts handle a high volume of cases on a daily basis and missing a court date can cause problems for the schedule. As a result, judges typically look down on people who fail to appear in court on the appropriate date. Being of the bad side of a judge is not a good place to be.

The penalties for failure to appear in court can vary based on the circumstances for a particular case. In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate with the court after failing to appear in order to reduce the chance of penalties.

What Happens If You Fail to Appear in Court

Most people who are ordered to appear in court are given a court date after being charged with a crime. This is done to move to the next phase of the adjudication process after charges have been filed. In most cases, a person will show up at their court date to enter a plea, pay a fine or begin the process of going to trial.

For example, John gets into a fight and is arrested and charged with assault. He pays his bail to be released from jail. When he is released, the bail bondsman informs him that he must show up on his court date or his bail will be forfeit.

In some cases, a person may be released from police custody on their own recognizance and will be given a court date without seeing a bail bondsman. Also, some people may be given a ticket or a citation and asked to show up for their court date, even if no arrest takes place.

A person who does not show up for their court date can expect to face some penalties. These penalties may include:

  • Being charged with contempt of court
  • Having a warrant issued for their arrest
  • Having their bail revoked
  • An order to repay the bondsman for the full amount of the bail

Missing a court date is very serious. A person who skips a court date for a serious criminal charge may be arrested at their home or place of work after a warrant is issued by the judge.

Possible Penalties

In addition to the penalties listed above, a court can charge a person with a crime for missing their court date. The seriousness of this charge usually depends on the severity of the crime for which that person was originally charged.

In Texas, the penalties for missing a court date can include:

  • Conviction on a Class C misdemeanor charge for an original Class C misdemeanor crime, punishable by a $500 fine
  • Conviction on a Class A misdemeanor charge for an original Class A or Class B misdemeanor crime, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4000 fine
  • Conviction on a third-degree felony charge for an original felony crime, punishable by up to two years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine
Legal Defenses

Sometimes, life can be unpredictable. When everything goes wrong, a person who did their best to appear in court on time may be unable to do so. For example, a person’s car could break down on their way to their court date or they may be injured and unable to leave a hospital in time. Although it’s true that judges really dislike it when people miss their court date, they are not unreasonable.

A criminal defense attorney may be able to help a person who has missed their court date. The lawyer could submit evidence to show that the defendant had a legitimate reason for missing their court date and that their absence was truly unavoidable. With the right kind of evidence and persuasive arguing, the judge may agree to excuse the absence and reschedule the court date. The judge may also agree to cancel the revocation of bail or cancel any bench warrants that were issued after the missed court date.

Have you failed to appear in court? Are you being hit with new charges because of it? You need a lawyer who can ehlp protect your rights in this difficult time. Contact attorney Greg Tsioros today at 832-752-5972.

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