If you’ve ever been arrested for
driving under the influence (DUI), called to jury duty, or asked to be a witness for any type of court
proceeding, you probably saw a court date listed on the document, which
indicates that your presence at that date and time listed is required.
If you’re thinking, “But I didn’t schedule a court date.”
Well, that’s because court dates are determined by the court and
they are based on the court’s schedule, not yours. Even if you’re
supposed to be at work during that day and time, or even if you’re
supposed to be on vacation, you still have to put your plans on hold so
you can attend the court proceeding.
It is against the law for you to not show up at your scheduled court appearance,
especially if it’s a criminal hearing. If you fail to attend your
court hearing, you will be charged with “failure to appear,”
a separate criminal offense under Arizona law.
Depending on the nature of your original charge, failure to appear may
be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. For example, if you’re facing
felony charges and you fail to appear at one of your court hearings, you’ll
face thousands in fines and imprisonment on the failure to appear charge,
which would be a felony.
The court does not sympathize with criminal defendants who miss their court
dates. In fact, Arizona judges consider it a serious offense and are quick
to issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest and impose harsh penalties
on defendants who are found guilty of failing to appear.
The judge won’t care if you had to work, your car broke down, you
were caught in traffic, or your wife was in the hospital having your first
born – and the judge won’t accept forgetfulness as an excuse either.
What are the legal consequences of missing a court date? In Arizona, that
depends on whether you’re original charge is for a misdemeanor or
a felony. If you’re facing felony charges, your penalties will be
more severe than if you were facing misdemeanor charges.
Failure to appear in the first degree:
You commit failure to appear in the first degree if your failure to appear
was in connection to a felony. Under ARS 13-2507, failure to appear in
the first degree is a
Class 5 felony.
Failure to appear in the second degree:
You commit failure to appear in the second degree if your failure to appear
in court was in connection to a misdemeanor offense. Under ARS 13-2506,
failure to appear in the second degree is a
Class 1 misdemeanor.
Act Now, Contact a Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney
If you missed a court appearance, there is likely a warrant out for your
arrest and your driver’s license is probably suspended. Unfortunately,
warrants don’t just “go away.” In fact, they can stick
for decades and they can pop up one day when you think the courts have
long forgotten about them.
If you missed a court appearance,
contact the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson, PLC. Attorney Davidson is a
former Maricopa County prosecutor who can advise you on what to do next. We offer
free case evaluations so you can get your questions answered right away.