Posted On: September 13, 2010

Skipping a Court Date - Bad Idea!

www.gasperlawgroup.comFace the music today, or face something worse tomorrow—why you need to make your Court dates.

Question: “ I have a court date coming up. What if I just decide not to show up?”

Answer: “Bad idea. Really bad idea—unless you have a nice cabin deep in the woods.”

Regardless of the severity of the charges you face, from a parking ticket to a homicide case, the system has a response to anyone failing to show for court. In a nutshell, the more serious the initial charges, the harder the system will work to get you back, and the higher price you’ll pay for missing court. Let’s start with the light ones, and work up.

If you are charged with a simple traffic offense; say, speeding, you were likely issued a summons to appear at a certain time to address the charge. If you miss the date, the points will issue against your license by default, and you will still owe the fine and court costs. A warrant could issue by the court, so the next time you are contacted by law enforcement for any reason (maybe another ticket), you could be arrested on the spot, and be required to post a cash bond equal to the amount owed on the ticket to satisfy the debt you owed the court. Not worth it, was it?

In a misdemeanor case, generally a summons is issued. Once again, if you miss court, a warrant would likely issue, but this time an appearance bond would be set. You would then need to post the bond, either paying the full amount in cash, or through a surety, i.e. , a bail bondsman. The bail bondsman is paid a non-refundable fee by you, ranging from 10 to 20 percent of the face of the bond, in exchange for promising the Court that you will appear. If you miss court again, the bondsman has to pay the Court the full amount of the bond, but two things happen to you.

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