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Are there defenses for a missed court appearance?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

If you are indicted and charged with a crime in New Jersey, you may be released on bail while awaiting the outcome of your case. While on bail, you will be required to appear in court as directed by the judge. 

Failing to honor your court date is a violation of the law. As such, you could face a range of consequences. Some of these may include additional charges, revocation of your bail and issuance of an arrest warrant and loss of your bond money. 

What happens if you miss court?

If you are not in the courtroom when the judge mentions your case, they will issue a Failure to Appear (FTA). Consequently, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest. The nature of your original criminal charge will determine what happens next. 

What if your reasons for missing court were valid?

Here are two defenses you can raise after missing a court date:

  • You did not receive the notice: You must be notified of your court date in order to appear, otherwise, how would you know when to show up? If you were never notified of the court date through no fault of your own, that could be a defense.
  • A last-minute emergency: A genuine emergency that coincides with your court date can serve as a valid excuse for missing court. Examples of genuine emergencies may include a sudden and debilitating medical, a car accident or the death of someone in your household.

If you are out on bail, showing up in court for your trial is not an option – but things happen. If you have a problem of this sort, it may be wise to get experienced legal guidance.