It can be a common occurrence for a person to receive a court summons for jury duty or a trial or a notice to appear in court for parking or traffic tickets. Regardless of the nature of the summons, anyone who receives a notice to appear is obligated to attend their scheduled court date. Sometimes, however, unexpected things arise, and people cannot make it to their scheduled court appearances. Skipping any court appearances can result in harsh legal consequences. Even if the court date was for a minor traffic offense, failure to appear for a court hearing could lead to criminal charges.

The most important thing that you can do after missing a court date is to contact a Bloomington failure to appear lawyer. An experienced criminal defense attorney could work with the court to resolve the issue and minimize the repercussions.

Common Reasons for Missing a Court Date

People miss their court dates for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • They simply forget
  • They never knew about the court date because they never received the notice, possibly because they changed addresses
  • They had a sudden, unexpected emergency
  • They were too embarrassed to face the charges against them
  • They had a conflict
  • They had a severe drug or alcohol problem that made them unaware of the summons
  • They panicked because they were afraid to face the consequences

Regardless of the reason for skipping a court date, a local attorney could help. A legal professional understands the laws governing these cases and their experience with the Minnesota court system could allow them to present a defense in the most advantageous manner.

Penalties for Failing To Appear In Court

Minnesota courts deliver harsh penalties to people who miss their court dates, as outlined in Minnesota Statutes Section 609.49. The penalties for failure to appear depend on the nature of the original charge. For example, if a person charged with a felony fails to show up in court, they automatically face the mandatory minimum sentence of one year, a day in jail and a $1,500 fine. In addition, people who fail to appear forfeit their bail. An attorney in the area could explain the different penalties and help construct an aggressive defense strategy.

There is No Statute of Limitations for Failing to Appear

If there is a warrant for a defendant’s arrest, the statute of limitations never runs out. Often, the police find out about an outstanding warrant for failure to appear after a routine traffic stop because Minnesota databases may have flagged a defendant’s name and license. Even years later, upon finding out about the existence of an outstanding warrant, the police can suddenly arrest someone who missed their court appearance.

It is best to act quickly to resolve the issue by reaching out to an attorney as soon as possible. Courts would likely be more lenient to defendants who admit that they made a mistake, accept responsibility, and turn themselves in. Even after an arrest on an outstanding warrant, a qualified legal team could still make a difference in negotiating a favorable plea deal.

Get Some Help from a Bloomington Failure to Appear Attorney

If you have missed a court appearance, reach out to a Bloomington failure to appear lawyer as soon as possible. A criminal defense lawyer could explain the law, come up with effective strategies, and help you move forward. Call today to schedule a consultation and start working to put your legal troubles behind you.