Failure To Appear
Failure to Appear (commonly referred to as FTA’s) occur when someone fails to show up for a court date. In some situations, the defendant is never made aware that there was a court date at all. The prosecution can acquire evidence about someone then file charges without that person ever knowing that a court date was set for them. Then when the defendant’s name is called at court and no one responds, the Judge issues a FTA.
More commonly, a defendant will be made aware of an upcoming court date but miss it. In those situations the defendant signs a “promise to appear” form by way of a citation when released from jail or after a traffic or other stop by an officer, or when they get bailed out of jail by a bail bondsman. Unfortuantely, defendants are often nervous, not paying attention or are unsure what they are signing only later to find out that they missed a court date.
Another way that people get failure to appears is if they actually appear at Court for an arraignment or subequent court date without a private attorney representing them and set another court date after that. If they are not represented by a privately retained attorney on a misdemeanor or infraction and subsequently miss the next court date, the Judge will issue a FTA.
Failure to Appear for a Misdemeanor or Felony
Once the Court determines that the defendant failed to appear, they will generally issue a bench warrant for the arrest of that person for missed misdemeanor or felony court dates. The Judge will also likely issue a bail amount on Felony and misdemeanor missed court dates.
Failure to Appear for an Infraction
On a missed trial date for an infraction, the Judge may issue a bench warrnat and require the defendant to post bail depending on the situation, usually the amount of the traffic ticket. This is particularly more likely if there is more than one FTA associated with that specific traffic ticket. If charges get dismissed or fines reduced at trial, the defendant would be reimbursed the difference.
On a missed Infraction traffic violation arraignment or failure to set an arraignment in the required time frame from the issuance of the ticket the court will normally issue a hold on the defendant’s driver license. This means that your driver license would be suspended and if you were pulled over for a subsequent ticket or for any other reason while driving, the Officer would likely cite you for a VC 14601 driving on suspended license which is a serious traffic matter that can have severe penalties. It is possible that the Court could issue a bench warrant for missed traffic ticket infraction arraignment dates depending on the Court that your matter is in.
The Good News
Although it is best not to get FTA’s to begin with, in the event that you do have a FTA along with an outstanding criminal or traffic matter, I can help. Although every case has it’s unique issues, I have been successful in getting bench warrants cleared, driver license suspension holds lifted, and cases back on track to fight the underlying charges.
Call me at 818-336-1384 as I would be happy to discuss your situation with you and give you options on how to deal it and to see if it is advisable to retain me to help you through this.
DUI, Criminal and Traffic Ticket defense Attorney, Phil Hache