Missed Court Appearances in Virginia
In the deluge of your day-to-day activities, it’s easy to forget about appointments or court dates. However, serious consequences can follow if you fail to appear for your court appearance before a Virginia Court judge when required by the law. Depending on the specifics of the case and the circumstances surrounding it, a Virginia court will likely put out a bench warrant for the arrest of anyone who willfully fails to appear on their assigned court date.
If a bench warrant for your arrest is given due to your failure to appear before any court or judicial officer, a police officer may arrest you at any time. In addition, if the court finds that someone willfully fails to appear to evade service of process or disobey an order from the court, they may be charged with contempt of court and face additional penalties.
Are you facing the Virginia Federal Court on charges of failure to appear before the court? We can help. At Scrofano Law PC, we have experience defending clients from these types of charges. Our legal team offers consultation to review the case details and failure to appear charges before a judicial officer. Our law office will provide legal advice and representation to protect your rights and help you be treated fairly.
What Does Failure to Appear Mean?
In Virginia, “failure to appear” means that the court system orders you to appear before any court on the hearing date, but you willfully failed to do so without a valid reason. The consequences for someone who fails to appear in a Virginia court on the court date are severe. They could include jail time or other penalties in addition to penalties for the offense you were originally charged with. The court will also put out a bench warrant to enable a police officer to take that person into custody as required.
Virginia Failure to Appear Warrant
The Alexandria General District Court or any other court may issue a warrant for arrest if you fail to appear before the court when required. A failure to appear warrant is a court summons pursuant to Virginia Law that authorizes law enforcement officers to apprehend and detain individuals accused of avoiding the service process or failing to comply with other summonses.
As they conduct proceedings to issue warrants, the court personnel will typically specify any fines, bail amounts, jail time, and instructions on how to make payment arrangements or surrender oneself into custody.
Is Failure to Appear a Felony Offense in Virginia?
Whether or not the failure to appear is a felony offense in Virginia depends on the circumstances of the underlying charge.
Subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions, a person is guilty of a Class 6 felony if they have been convicted of a felony charge or charged with a felony offense and then fail to appear before a Virginia Court.
On the other hand, subject to certain criteria, if a person who has been charged or convicted of a misdemeanor offense thereafter fails to appear in court, then they are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
What Is the Jail Time for Failure to Appear in a Virginia Court?
In Virginia, the jail term if a person willfully fails to appear on their court date and is found guilty depends on the severity of the underlying charge and whether they have been convicted of a misdemeanor charge or felony offense. Suppose a person is charged with a misdemeanor offense such as trespassing and willfully fails to appear in court without good cause. If found guilty, the judge can order the person to serve a maximum jail time of twelve months or pay a fine of not more than $2,500 or both.
For more serious offenses, a judge, in their sound discretion, shall determine penalties of up to five years imprisonment, depending upon your criminal history. Seeking legal advice from an experienced attorney on how to get charges dropped is vital.
Do You Get a Bond for Failure to Appear in Virginia?
Getting a bond for someone that willfully fails to appear before any court in Virginia is possible. If a police officer serves you with a warrant for your arrest and takes you into custody because of your absence before a judge in court, then bail may be granted. Bail depends on various factors, such as whether the original offense you are charged with is a felony or misdemeanor offense and whether you have previously skipped bail.
A knowledgeable attorney can represent you at the arraignment and help address your failure to appear so that the judge can, at their discretion, determine if you can be released on a bond or not.
What Is the Bond Amount for Failure to Appear in Virginia?
The amount of a bond for failure to appear before any court in Virginia is determined while officials of the court conduct orderly proceedings during arraignment and vary depending on your case’s severity and circumstances.
The court may require you to sign a personal recognizance bond, which would obligate you to pay an amount of money should you fail to appear for future proceedings.
Can You Get a Failure to Appear Case Dismissed?
In some cases, getting a failure to appear case dismissed is possible. Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be several options available for getting this type of charge released pursuant to evidence of a good cause.
An experienced Virginia traffic lawyer can help evaluate all potential strategies that could lead to dismissals, such as providing proof that the original court order was flawed in some way or that there were some unforeseen circumstances, such as a medical emergency or an accident.
How Can a Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney Help You?
If you are charged with failure to appear in Virginia, you may consult a criminal defense attorney. An experienced lawyer can help evaluate your case and determine the most suitable course for resolving any charges against you, such as negotiating plea deals or seeking dismissal.
They may also be able to assist with filing motions before court hearings, preparing legal documents, and providing advice on other matters related to this type of offense.
Scrofano Law PC’s team has extensive experience in representing clients facing criminal charges throughout Northern Virginia, including failure-to-appear offenses. Contact us today so we can begin reviewing your case and protect your rights at Traffic Court in Virginia or any other court on your behalf!
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