Richmond Failure to Appear Lawyer
If you did not appear for a scheduled court date or sentencing hearing, or violated terms of your probation, a bench warrant for your failure to appear will be ordered by a judge. All state law enforcement will be looking for you. Now, they probably won’t be “calling all cars,” but any time a policeman asks you to present your driver’s license, that warrant is in criminal databases. So, the chances are very good you will be arrested and taken to jail to ensure that you will appear not only for the original court-ordered date, but also to explain to the Court why you missed your original hearing. Therefore if you have missed a court date of any kind a Richmond failure to appear lawyer is imperative in order to minimize the harm that was done by the missed court date.
Virginia Penalties for Failure to Appear
When charged with a felony or misdemeanor in the Commonwealth, unless your lawyer tells you differently, you are obligated to appear at every court proceeding concerning your alleged offense. And if you are convicted of any crime and await sentencing, if the court orders you to appear at any time, you must. Failure to do so is charged as a willful offense and is difficult to disprove.
When charged with failure to appear while charged with a felony, you will face an additional class 6 felony offense, which comes with a $2,500 fine and up to a year of incarceration. If your underlying crime is a misdemeanor, it is charged as an additional (class 1) misdemeanor, which brings the same penalties [Virginia Annotated Code Section 19.2-128]. Assuming you have been convicted of the underlying felony or misdemeanor, the failure-to-appear charge (which also includes failure to report for probation, or any court-ordered education or rehabilitation) [VA Code Section 18.2-271.1 (A)(B)] “enhances” (adds time and fine to) your original sentence. But even if you are found not guilty of your underlying crime, you’re still liable for the failure to appear conviction unless you can prove that it was unavoidable. That is very difficult which is another reason why contacting a Richmond failure to appear lawyer is so important. If you have a failure-to-appear warrant issued in another state or legal jurisdiction outside of Virginia, you can be picked up and held for extradition back to the court in which the warrant was issued.
Statute of Limitations For Virginia Warrants
Sometimes, a 20-year-old warrant can suddenly pop up on a law enforcement database. Warrants have no statute of limitations if they have not been resolved. This is another reason to make all your court appearances. If you can’t, notify your lawyer. When facing such charges you should immediately contact a Richmond failure to appear lawyer to assist in navigating the legal process and preparing a solid defense.
Furthermore, if you want to have your failure-to-appear charge expunged (actually, sealed) from your criminal record, that same Richmond failure to appear lawyer can help if you qualify [VA Code Section 19.2-392.2]. However, you will have to wait for a period of time before you can petition the court. Ask your lawyer to tell you whether you qualify, and how long that wait period will likely be.