Henrico County Failure to Appear Lawyer
If you are required to go to court, you must attend your hearing at the mandated date and time. A failure to appear in court for any reason, whether to address a traffic ticket or go on trial for a felony charge, can lead to a bench warrant for your arrest. Failure to appear is also a separate criminal offense from the charges that necessitated you attending the hearing you missed. This means even if all of your other criminal charges are dropped, you could still face jail time and fines simply because you didn’t show up to court when required. You could be arrested at any time while there is an outstanding bench warrant out for you, so it is very important to contact a Henrico County failure to appear lawyer as soon as you miss your court date.
Virginia Failure to Appear in Court Laws
Virginia Code section 19.2-128 describes the crime of failure to appear, as well as the penalties you face. Under this law:
- A willful failure to appear before the court after receiving a summons or being released on bond will result in bail being forfeited, except in limited circumstances, such as when there was good cause for your absence.
- If you are charged with a felony offense or you are convicted and given a suspended sentence, and you fail to appear in court as required, you will be charged with a class 6 felony. Under Virginia Code section 18.2-10, penalties can include between one and five years in prison.
- If you are charged with a misdemeanor or convicted and given a suspended sentence for a misdemeanor, and you fail to appear in court when required, you will be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. Virginia Code section 18.2-11 establishes penalties of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 for class 1 misdemeanors.
To convict you of failure to appear, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you willfully did not come to court as required. Your intent matters when determining whether you will be convicted.
Hiring a Henrico County Failure to Appear Lawyer
A judge can hold you in contempt and issue a bench warrant for your arrest immediately upon your failure to attend a court hearing. When police pull you over for a routine traffic stop, or you otherwise come into contact with law enforcement for any reason, the officer may check your identification and run your name through the computer. This can lead to immediate arrest when the officer realizes there is a warrant out for you.
Don’t let a bench warrant hang over your head. You need to be proactive in dealing with your failure to appear. This means you should strongly consider contacting a Henrico County failure to appear attorney if you have failed to go to court. Your attorney can find out whether there is a warrant out for you and can try to clear the warrant. If you made a mistake and missed the court date by accident, your attorney may be able to get the issuance of an arrest warrant delayed and working out a deal for you to appear promptly.
Your attorney can also help you if the prosecutor actually moves forward with criminal charges for a willful failure to come to court as required. A Henrico County failure to appear lawyer can negotiate a deal with the prosecutor or raise defenses such as mistake or lack of intent.
The longer you wait to resolve your failure to appear case, the more complex your legal problems can become. Contact a Henrico County failure to appear attorney for help today.