I Missed My Court Date....What Now?


BY: John McNeil, Associate Attorney at the Claiborne Ferguson Law Office

If you have a pending criminal case and you made bond or were released on your own recognizance (ROR), there are certain conditions you have to follow in order to stay out of jail. One of the easiest way to violate these bond conditions is by showing up late for court or missing your court date altogether.

When you miss your court date, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. If this happens, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Most judges will tell you there is "no good reason" to miss court. Even if you think you had a good reason for missing, you should never show up to court without an attorney.

There are two standard ways to get rid of a bench warrant: go to jail or have the warrant recalled. If the judge sends you to jail, you could be in jail until the disposition of your case. When you go to jail for a bench warrant, you lose your bond. More importantly, you lose the ability to assist with your defense, care for your family and/or keep your job. We find that people in jail have the worst outcomes because they have limited access to assist with their case.

To recall the warrant, you need an experienced attorney who is familiar with each and every courtroom in the building. Recalling the warrant means the judge gives you a second chance and provides your next court date. An experienced attorney vigorously argues to the judge for your position. If the judge will not agree to recall the warrant, you want your attorney to ask that the bond be reinstated so you can get out of jail. However, the longer you wait to take care of a bench warrant, the less likely the judge will be to recall that warrant. The longer you wait, however, the bonding company can ask to be relieved and now you have no bond in place.

Some attorneys can advise you that they can get rid of the bench warrant by pleading you guilty. While this in fact does make the bench warrant go away, you now have a criminal record that could, in the future, prevent you from employment, housing, voting, financing, etc.

You want a criminal defense law firm that cares about you and getting the best outcome in your situation. If you've missed your court date, you should call The Claiborne Ferguson Law office immediately to have your warrant recalled and stay out of jail.

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