At some point, we have all missed an appointment. However, a court date is no ordinary appointment, and if you are a no-show at the expected time and date, you may face penalties in addition to any punishment linked to the original crime charged.
An Edina failure to appear lawyer knows the system and has the experience necessary to help you quickly address your misstep and possibly avoid the harshest penalties. Every case is different, so reach a knowledgeable attorney today to discuss the potential legal outcomes you may be facing in your failure to appear case.
When a court or other legal authority issues a summons or notice to appear, it is not an invitation but rather a legal mandate. The court requests a defendant’s presence for various proceedings, including arraignments, case-related hearings, pre-trial conferences, trials, and sentencings. The legal documents notifying parties of such proceedings specify the date, time, and place for the appearance.
The court expects everyone who receives such notices – defendants, prosecutors, police officers, witnesses, and any others – to make themselves available. The recipients do not have the right to decide if they appear or not. Missing court proceedings is punishable under Minnesota Statutes § 609.49.
Some individuals inadvertently miss their court dates, while others intentionally fail to show up. Regardless of someone’s reasoning for failing to appear, an Edina attorney could approach the court on their behalf and work to resolve the situation before things worsen.
Judges can charge those who fail to appear with an additional crime and order a bench warrant for their arrest. Police do not actively seek the subject of such a warrant. Instead, authorities flag the person as a fugitive in their driving record, and any subsequent interaction with police may result in their arrest. These warrants never expire, so trying to “wait it out” is not in a person’s best interests. A knowledgeable attorney could provide guidance to someone facing a bench warrant for failing to appear in court.
The state treats missed court dates as they do any other crime, and any sentence for failure to appear will be in addition to the punishment ordered if convicted on the original charges. This situation only complicates the defendant’s already challenging situation. With assistance from a local attorney, individuals facing failure to appear charges could address the matter with minimal impact on their future.
If the underlying crime is a petty or gross misdemeanor, the individual will face misdemeanor failure to appear charges. These charges carry maximum jail terms of 90 days, fines not exceeding $1,000, or both.
Courts issue felony failure to appear charges when the original arrest involves a felony offense. Those accused of this infraction face penalties equal to one-half the maximum incarceration time and the fine for the underlying crime. For example, if the police initially charged the individual with a crime carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years, the person may face up to an additional five years in prison. However, the minimum sentence imposed in every case is one year and one day imprisonment and a $1,500 fine.
If you have missed a court date, it may be tempting to sweep the problem under the rug. Unfortunately, this issue will not go away with time and can result in serious fines and even jail time if not addressed.
An Edina failure to appear lawyer could represent you before the court and help you explain your side of the story. To discuss your case with a skilled legal professional, call today.