4 Consequences of Missing Court in a Florida Criminal Case
An arrest is just the beginning of a Florida criminal case, so you will move through several stages and proceedings along the way until you reach your trial date. In many cases, the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure allow you to remain free as long as you post bond and comply with reasonable conditions as established by the court. Among other things, these conditions are intended to ensure that you appear at all required hearings.
As you might expect, there are consequences if you do not attend court proceedings. Your Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney will take the lead in representing you during hearings, but you need to do your part. You may face harsh punishment if you are no-show, so it is important to review a few things that can happen when you miss court dates.
- You forfeit what you posted as bond. If you were granted pretrial release, the judge will require you to purchase a bond as a type of insurance policy. The court wants assurance that you will show up for all appearances, giving you a financial incentive to attend. If you miss a court appearance, you forfeit what you spent on the bond, which could amount to thousands of dollars.
- Your bond could be revoked. In addition to losing your money on the bond, you could also lose your freedom if you do not attend court. Pretrial release is a benefit and courtesy to you, one which the court is not required to extend. When you are a no-show, you can be sure the judge will not be fooled a second time.
- The court may issue a warrant for your arrest. In some cases, the judge might be convinced that you are a danger to the public or there are other reasons to get you into the courtroom immediately. A judge can issue a warrant for your arrest, in which case police can take you into custody and bring you into court. This could occur at your home or place of work, leading to issues with family relationships and your professional reputation.
- Forget any possibility of leniency. By missing a court date in a criminal case, you have outright defied the court’s order. The prosecutor may not even consider a plea bargain; if you do reach an agreement, the judge may reflect on your disobedience and decide NOT to accept the prosecutor’s recommendation for a plea bargain. You can also expect harsher sentencing if you are convicted.
Get Legal Help from a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer
You can rely on your attorney for just about everything involved with a criminal case, but the duty to show up in court for required hearings is yours alone. Fortunately, you will not be intimidated or overwhelmed about going to court when you have skilled legal counsel on your side. To learn how our team can assist with your case, please contact the Fort Lauderdale, FL offices of attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can schedule a consultation to assess your circumstances and discuss pretrial release issues.