We have all missed an appointment sometime in our life—such as a doctor’s visit or a date with a friend—but the consequences are not often too severe. Skipping a court date is not the same thing. Whether the order to appear was for a traffic violation or a violent crime, there can be serious consequences for standing up the court.
If you delay addressing your mistake, things may only get worse, so contacting a Ringgold failure to appear lawyer to review your options and resolve the matter should be your next step. A criminal attorney at our firm could get you back on the right track.
A court date is an order to appear before a judge at a specific time and date. Not only is the defendant expected to appear, but others involved in the matter are also required to be present, such as a judge, courtroom staff, prosecutors, and witnesses. However, when someone fails to show, the hearing cannot proceed.
Accused individuals cannot decide to skip the appearance because the time or date is inconvenient or they do not feel like attending. While the judge may acknowledge extenuating circumstances, such as an illness, individuals must communicate with the court. As a court order, the person’s appearance is mandatory, and their absence constitutes a violation of the law. Upon the person’s absence, the judge has the power to issue a bench warrant for the person’s arrest under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated §§ 17-7-90 and 40-13-62.
All failure to appear charges have enforceable penalties, including fines and incarceration. By working with an attorney familiar with local procedures and the law in this area, defendants in Ringgold might minimize the repercussions from their failure to appear.
In many criminal cases, judges set bail, or the amount of money a defendant must pay in exchange for being released from jail until further court proceedings take place. If an individual posts bail and is set free but then fails to attend a subsequent court date, the court may impose penalties for bail jumping under O.C.G.A. § 16-10-51.
Defendants convicted of felony bail jumping may face up to $5000 in fines and imprisonment from one to five years. Punishments for misdemeanor bail jumping include a maximum fine of $1000 and no more than one year in prison. If the suspect faces one of the misdemeanors listed in O.C.G.A. § 16-10-51(c)(2) and leaves the state, the bail jumping offense escalates to a felony, and they risk paying $1000 – $5000 in fines and spending one to five years in prison. A sample of the misdemeanors in this Code section includes DUI, bribery, simple assault, tampering with evidence, and criminal trespass. Whether felony or misdemeanor, the accused may lose their driving privileges for a set period.
All these punishments are in addition to any sentence imposed for the original crime and could significantly add to the penalties an individual already faces, so they should retain knowledgeable counsel to help as soon as possible.
Failing to appear for a traffic violation hearing may not seem like a big deal. After all, a traffic citation is not a serious crime. However, as with any other court date, the defendant’s appearance is court-mandated, and there are real consequences for disregarding this order.
Under O.C.G.A. § 40-5-56, the law requires that individuals have their driver’s licenses suspended until they satisfy other penalties for this transgression. Such additional punishments include fines up to $200 and no more than three days in jail, as outlined in O.C.G.A. § 40-13-63. With the help of a reputable Ringgold attorney familiar with failure to appear issues, resolving this mistake sooner than later may lead to less harsh sentencing.
After missing a court date, you may not realize the significance of the mistake or know what to do about it. Consult with a seasoned Ringgold failure to appear lawyer today to understand what you may do to resolve these outstanding charges with minimal additive penalties.