If you are facing criminal charges and are currently out on bail or awaiting your case, you will be required to appear in court on an appointed date to plead your case. Failing to show up on scheduled court dates will have serious consequences. If you fail to appear in court, you can face a bench warrant and potentially lose your driving privileges. That said if you have been charged with failure to appear, you need an experienced Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney on your side who can help you. Keep reading to learn about the potential penalties for a failure to appear charge in New Jersey.
What happens if I fail to appear in court in New Jersey?
If a judge has not specifically waived your appearance, you must appear in court on all scheduled dates. Failing to appear for a court date will only worsen matters. You may believe that if you do not show up nothing will happen and your court date will be rescheduled. However, that is not the case. Rather, you will face a variety of harsh penalties for failing to appear in court on an appointed date.
Firstly, failing to show up for a court date in a criminal matter can result in a warrant for your arrest. Under New Jersey’s bail reform system, failure to appear in court can also result in detention until your rescheduled trial date. If you fail to appear in Municipal Court or Superior Court on your scheduled court date for a traffic violation, the judge may suspend your driving privileges. Additionally, you can be subject to hefty fines.
What are some invalid reasons a judge will not accept for absence?
When you fail to appear in court on a scheduled date, you will have to explain to the judge why you failed to appear when you were supposed to. With this, there are only a few reasons a judge will find acceptable for failing to appear. The following are some examples of unacceptable reasons for failing to appear for your court date:
- You forgot.
- You moved and failed to notify the court of your address change.
- You were stuck in traffic.
- There were inclement weather conditions.
- Your vehicle was disabled.
- You had to go to work.
- You thought the judge waived your appearance.
Essentially, if you do not have sufficient evidence to prove you had valid reasoning for failing to appear in court for your court date you will have serious penalties. However, if you can provide the judge with evidence that you were not notified of the court date and time, you were hospitalized or incapacitated due to an accident or illness, or someone died in your immediate family, you may not face repercussions.
Regardless of why you received a summons to appear in court, you need to appear in court on the scheduled date to avoid harsh penalties. If you have been charged with failure to appear, you need a qualified Bergen County criminal defense attorney who can help you resolve this matter.