You’ve been arrested for a crime and released on bail. You were given a court date, wherein you were required to appear in front of a judge, but you miss your court date—whether it was by accident or on purpose. What happens next?
In Texas, failing to appear in court could lead to lots of problems—you are looking at jail time and massive fines.
Here’s what you need to know about the consequences of missing your court dates and how PCS Bail Bonds can help if you’ve been arrested for failing to appear in court.
Is It a Crime to Miss Court?
Is it a crime to miss a court date? The answer depends on the circumstances.
According to the Texas Penal Code, Section 38.10, a person can be charged with Bail Jumping and Failure to Appear if “a person lawfully released from custody, with or without bail, on condition that he subsequently appear commits an offense [by] intentionally or knowingly failing to appear in accordance with the terms of his release.”
Notice that it says intentionally and knowingly. When a person misses their court date intentionally, it is considered an offense.
Penalties for Failing to Appear in Court
Failure to appear in court is punished as a Class A misdemeanor. This comes with up to one year in jail and fines of up to $4,000.
However, if the case was only punishable by a fine—for example you fail to appear in court for a speeding traffic ticket—it is classified as a Class C misdemeanor and comes with a $500 fine.
If you were on trial for a felony or misdemeanor, and failed to appear in court, then this offense is punished as a third-degree felony. This means, a fine of up to $10,000 and prison time extending as far as 10 years.
Beyond this, know that failing to appear in could make your situation very complicated.
If you fail to appear at your court date, then its possible a judge can issue a bench warrant for your arrest. If you miss court for a serious offense, the judge even has the authority to send law enforcement to your place of work or to your residence.
In addition, failing to appear in court could have a negative impression on the judges and jury. This could result in a guilty verdict or tougher punishments.
It is highly advised that you don’t miss your court date intentionally.
Affirmative Defenses to Failing to Appear
What if a person misses their court date by unintentionally? Well, there are several affirmative defenses for failing to appear in court in Texas. If you have a good reason, the court could be willing to listen.
The Texas Penal Code says, “it is a defense to prosecution that the actor had a reasonable excuse for his failure to appear in accordance with the terms of his release.”
What kind of reasons could be used as an affirmative defense? Reasonable excused for failing to appear in court include, but are not limited to:
- You didn’t receive the notification to appear in court
- You were severely ill and hospitalized
- You were called for military duty
- You were arrested and incarcerated in another jurisdiction
How Can I Find Out if I Have a Failure to Appear for a Traffic Ticket?
It’s easy to accidently miss a court date for a traffic violation. At times, you may not realize you are required to appear in court. Obviously, failing to appear could lead to severe consequences.
To avoid missing a court date in Texas, you can go to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s website. There’s a relatively simple form to fill out. After completion, you can find out if there’s any violation or failure to appear in court charges to your name.
In case you missed a court date, the most important thing to do would be to either call an attorney or the court regarding the next steps and see how you can resolve the issue.
Know this: if you failed to appear in court in Texas for a traffic ticket, or other offenses, its possible in certain cases that the judge may order a suspension of your driver license. The suspension may not end until you appear in front of the judge.
How PCS Bail Bonds Can Help with Failure to Appear
In some cases, the court may issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Other times, there may be instances where you might need a bail bond in order to get out of jail. In that case, PCS Bail Bonds can help you.
We understand people make mistakes. We can guide throughout the process of dealing with getting arrested and getting a bail bond for failing to appear in court in Texas. We are a leading provider of 24-hour bail bonds in Fort Worth for various offenses such as theft, drug possession, embezzlement, traffic violations, assault, and more. We offer competitive rates for bail bonds for drug trafficking in Texas and are here to serve you 24/7.
Here’s our commitment to our clients: we provide confidential service and bring in extensive experience with us. We don’t do credit checks and we provide a quick turnaround.
We are members of the Professional Bondsmen of Texas, Tarrant County Bar Association, and Professional Bondsmen of Tarrant County. We help clients in Fort Worth, Texas, and other municipalities in Tarrant County. We process our clients’ requests quickly and efficiently because we understand how threatening and uncomfortable it can be to stay in jail until your trial. Our bond agents are always on call and we can be down to the jail in under 30 minutes.
Contact us now by phone at 817-335-1655, at our e-mail, visit in-person, or fill out our bail bond request form. Se Habla Español.