Thomas Carroll Blauvelt

I missed my court date. What are my defense options?

If you are indicted and charged with certain crimes, you will be directed to appear in court on a specific date for your arraignment. Disregarding your court date can to an additional charge of failure to appear (FTA).

Failure to honor your court date can amount to a criminal offense in New Jersey. Besides, this can escalate your current charges, lead to the revocation or denial of your bail and negatively impact the court’s perception of you.

Understanding Failure to Appear (FTA)

Failure to appear will most often lead to a bench warrant against you. Basically, this is a warrant of arrest that the court issues against you because you have not appeared in court to face the charges. With a bench warrant out against you, law enforcement will come for you. Depending on the original charge, the consequences for FTA may include fines, court costs and jail time.

Defenses for FTA

If you are charged with failure to appear, you need to explore your defense options. Here are some of the defense options you can consider based on the circumstances of your case:

You need a genuine and credible reason to miss your court date. Simply telling the judge that you forgot your court date might not cut it. You need to provide a more convincing explanation that you never intended to miss court. Some of the reasons you can cite include:

  • A medical emergency like your illness or accident that led to hospital admission or rushing someone to the hospital
  • Noting the wrong court date
  • Incarceration for another unrelated matter
  • Lack of means to get to court

So what next after missing court?

Failing to appear is a serious offense. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests when charged with FTA in New Jersey.

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