When you’re required to show up in court but don’t appear at the assigned date, the judge could issue a warrant for your arrest (which is referred to as a Failure to Appear or an FTA Bench Warrant). The most common FTAs involve traffic violations, where people forget to show up for their court date. But it can occur in other circumstances as well.
Here are some common question people ask about failure to appear in Texas.
If you don’t show up in court, it’s considered a criminal offense. It can also lead to additional fines, fees, and bench warrants (depending on the circumstances). Once a bench warrant has been issued, several things can happen. Some of them can include, but may not be limited to:
Routine traffic stops that will lead to your arrest (once the police run your information through the system).
-You could be denied bail.
-You could be held in jail after you have been arrested.
-You could face additional charges for not appearing in court.
-Your license may be suspended until your case is closed (which will lead to additional fees to get -your license reinstated).
-Be sure to speak to a qualified attorney for more information.
FTA charges don’t have a statute of limitations, so it will stay on your record until you serve the warrant. States don’t usually extradite people from out-of-state for FTA’s (unless the original charges were very serious), but it will appear on any background check. So, it will lead to an arrest during routine traffic stops.
If you think your charges could be seen as “severe,” you should discuss your options with an attorney before you make any decisions. But once a warrant is in the system, it can only be removed in the following ways:
-By surrendering yourself and making an appearance before the judge.
-By getting stopped by the police, getting arrested, and being taken to jail until you make an appearance before the judge.
-By having your attorney come to an agreement over the terms of the warrant (which can only happen in misdemeanor cases).
This decision is entirely up to you, but a lot of attorneys recommend you turn yourself in under your own terms instead of waiting for a run-in with the police.
Because the types and circumstances of FTA charges can vary widely, it’s hard to say what the consequences will be in your case. The severity of the charges will depend on the severity of the crime, but the court has reason to send you to jail or prison. They can also increase your probation time or even charge you with a new crime. Your driver’s license may be suspended. Once that happens, it would be illegal for you to drive until you serve your bench warrant and get a courtesy clearance from the courts.
The police won’t usually show up at your doorstep to issue a bench warrant, but the consequences for an FTA charge will get worse as time goes on. You need to turn yourself in as soon as possible. But if you don’t get an attorney beforehand, you might not be able to get one after you have been incarcerated. A lot of misdemeanor charges can be taken care of by an attorney without you having to appear in court. You also want to find some way to post bail once you go to court. Either talk to a local bail bondsman or make a deal with a family member who can help you out.
If you don’t show up in court on the scheduled date, the original bail bond will be forfeited to the state and a new bail bond amount will be set (usually with stricter and costlier amounts than your original one). The courts can also charge you with bail jumping. If you posted collateral with a bail bondsman, they may hire a headhunter to bring you into court so they can avoid paying the full amount). The collateral you posted could also be subject to liquidation.
If you’re looking for the best criminal defense attorney in Corpus Christi, be sure to get in touch with Gale Law Group.