Failure to appear refers to when a defendant has a specified court date set to address their case, and they don’t show up.
When individuals in Texas are given a court date, they’re expected to show up—and when they don’t, they can be met with harsh penalties. Since courts handle a high volume of cases on a daily basis, they don’t take missing court dates lightly. Failing to appear in court can be a crime and carries penalties such as being charged with contempt of court, having a warrant issued for their arrest, having bail revoked, or being ordered to repay the bail bondsman (if one was used) for the full amount of the bail.
If you jump bail in Texas, the penalties vary depending on the original charge you were charged with. For example, if you failed to show up for a class C misdemeanor charge, an additional class C misdemeanor can be added, and you may be subject to fines up to $500. In order to charge you with failing to appear, the prosecutor must prove that you were available during your court date and purposefully didn’t show up; as such, if you accidentally miss you court date, it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll be charged for not showing up.
Yes, if you fail to show up for your court date a warrant for your arrest can be issued, and you may be arrested.
Whether or not you get jail time and how much jail time you get will depend on your specific case and the class of your charge.
The fine for failing to appear depends on the original charge you were supposed to show up in court for. For example, penalties for failing to show up for a felony case will be more severe than that of a misdemeanor case.
If you fail to appear for a court date for a felony you’ve already been charged with, additional third-degree felony charges can be added to your case.
Sometimes, mistakes happen. If you miss your court date by accident, you likely won’t have anything to worry about if you follow protocol. One you realize that you’ve mixed up or missed your court date, you’ll need to call the court clerk as soon as possible. Chances are, if you contact them within a few days of the violation, the clerk will be able to reset the date without having to issue a penalty. However, if your failure to appear is old, then the clerk will need to contact the District Attorney, and you’ll have to proceed from there.
For small infractions like a traffic ticket, a warrant may not need to be issued—sometimes all you need to do is fill out a form to request a new date, and await approval. When you call your local court clerk, they’ll be able to best advise you on what to do.
The number of times a court date can be rescheduled depends on the case, and whether the court decides to grant a motion for continuance. Court officials typically don’t have a problem approving these motions when there are valid reasons for the extensions. However, judges are aware of unreasonable delay tactics and can recognize when someone keeps putting off their court date without just cause. So, if a judge believes you truly need the extension, they’ll grant it—but if not, you’ll be stuck with the date they initially gave you. It’s best to speak to your court clerk to figure out the right protocol in these situations in your county.
This varies from county to county. The best thing to do is contact your local court clerk, and have them advise you on what to do.
It’s unlikely that you’ll be granted bail when you’re arrested for failure to appear because you’ve proven to be a flight risk. If a judge has a hard time believing that you’ll return to court for your court date, it’s not likely that they will release you on bail. However, there are some situations in which you are more likely to be given bail for failure to appear. This includes illness, a death in the family, you didn’t know you had to appear, you were arrested or imprisoned somewhere else, or if your lawyer is unable to be there.
On the off chance you care granted bail, the amount will vary on your specific situation.
If you’ve been arrested for failure to appear in court, you might need a bail bondsman to help you get released. Once you know your bail amount, you can seek a bail bond to get yourself out of jail as soon as possible. If you ever find yourself in need of bail for failure to appear in court in Texas, all you need to do is call PCS Bail Bonds. Our bail bond agents are always on-call, so you’ll never have to worry about going through this situation alone. While most local court systems can take hours to process paperwork, we can have it done in a fraction of the time, and be down to the jail in as little as 30 minutes. We accept a variety of payments, even including mobile payment at the jail. Contact us today to learn how we can help you through the bail bond process.