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What Happens if You Fail to Appear in Court?

If you were charged with a criminal offense, you may be scheduled for various legal proceedings, including pre-trial readiness conferences, motions, and trials. Unless you have been excused, you are required to appear. However, because you have various other obligations, you might not be able to make it. If you do not show up and did not get an order to change the scheduled date, the judge could issue a bench warrant in your name.

Changing a Court Date

You cannot call into the court to reschedule a proceeding. You must file a motion for continuance. The forms for submitting this petition are available online. Once you’ve completed the request, you must mail a copy of it to the other people or agencies involved in your case.

Issuing a Bench Warrant

If you do not submit the motion for continuance, your court date will not be rescheduled. Failing to show up when you are supposed is an offense. The judge may issue a bench warrant, which is a document that lets the police know they could arrest you for failing to appear.

A bench warrant is different from an arrest warrant in that the latter allows the police to actively pursue the order. That means they could go to your home or office and take you into custody.

With a bench warrant, your name is placed in a database. If you have any contact with police, such as for violating a traffic law, they will run your name through their system, seeing the bench warrant, they could arrest you.

It may be possible to quash the bench warrant. To do this, you or your attorney must file a motion and appear before a judge to request the recall.

Defenses for Failing to Appear

Generally, when you are scheduled for a court date, you will receive a written notice in the mail. If the reason you did not appear was because the summons never got to you, that could serve a defense.  

In some cases, circumstances that were beyond your control, such as an accident or natural disaster, might have prevented you from showing up to court. At your trial for failing to appear, you could bring this up to support your case.

Schedule a Case Evaluation with Gerash Steiner, P.C.

The criminal justice system and court processes are complicated. If you’re facing criminal allegations, it’s important to have an attorney in your corner to guide you through the complexities. With decades of combined legal experience, our lawyers will provide the representation you need to fight accusations made against you.

Whether you’re facing a misdemeanor or felony charge in Denver, we will be with you every step of the way. Call us at (303) 732-5048 or contact us online.