I Missed My Florida Court Date: What Do I Do Now?
Showing up to your court date is extremely important. But, sometimes, things happen that lead to people missing their court dates. If you just missed your court date, it is crucial that you remain calm and avoid panicking, because panic will only make matters worse. Even though failing to appear in court is a crime in the state of Florida, remember, if you just missed a court date, it is possible to fix your situation. Indeed, if you miss a court date in Florida, it’s very likely that the court may issue a warrant for your arrest. However, that is not a reason for you to run.
Other things you should avoid doing after missing a court date include;
- Lying in Court about why you missed your court date
- Ignoring the problem and hoping the judge does not notice
- Avoiding future scheduled court appearances
Potential Consequences of Missing a Court Date in Florida
Even though you can fix your situation if you just missed a court date, remember that a missed court date is a serious criminal offense in the state of Florida that should never be taken lightly. Under Florida Statute 843.15, while “failing to appear” is typically a first-degree misdemeanor, the crime of failing to appear can be increased to a felony of the third degree if the original charge an individual failed to appear in court for is a felony charge. If you are charged with a first-degree misdemeanor crime, you risk spending up to 12 months in jail and/or paying monetary fines of up to $1,000. On the other hand, if you are charged with a third-degree felony charge, you risk spending up to five years in prison and/or paying a monetary fine of up to $5,000. Even if the Court acquits you of your initial charge, you may still be found guilty of failure to appear, which makes the issue of failing to appear in court a serious issue.
Missing a court date can also lead to the issuance of a bench warrant or changes to your bond. When a court issues a bench warrant, your name will go into a state database, and if you get stopped for even a minor traffic violation, the law enforcement officer who stopped you will see the warrant and arrest you on the spot. When it comes to a court making changes to your bond, one dire consequence you could face after missing a court date is the revocation of your bond.
What To Do After Missing a Court Date?
If you just missed a court date, you should contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Even though an attorney may not guarantee that they can get your bench warrant withdrawn, an experienced attorney can present you with legal options to resolve the issue. Depending on the specifics of your case, an attorney might even be able to resolve the issue without you needing to go to court. However, if you are facing a felony charge, you will most likely have to turn yourself in or present yourself to court.
Allow Joyce A. Julian, P.A. To Help You
If you have missed a Florida court date and are confused about what to do, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a skilled Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney at the office of Joyce A. Julian, P.A., today to schedule a consultation.