Suffolk Failure to Appear Lawyer

When a person is released from jail pending trial, their freedom is typically tied to certain conditions. Failure to live up to those conditions could result in a warrant for their arrest and a return trip to jail until trial. When this happens, it also opens them up to an additional criminal charge known as failure to appear.

Failure to appear is a separate crime that has no impact on the original charge. In fact, it is possible for the prosecutor to dismiss the underlying charge and still pursue the failure to appear case. A Suffolk failure to appear lawyer could help you fight these charges even if the underlying case is ultimately dismissed.

If you have missed a court date, you could avoid a conviction for failure to appear if you have a valid excuse. A dedicated criminal defense attorney could review your case with you and advise you on whether the court might show leniency.

Mandatory Court Appearances

There are many court settings in a criminal case that could require the attendance of the defendant. While many of these hearings relate to the settings in a case prior to trial, a failure to appear charge could result from missing a mandatory appearance after a conviction has occurred. Some of the proceedings where a failure to appear charge could stem from include:

  • Arraignment
  • Pre-trial hearings
  • Bond hearings
  • Trial
  • Sentencing hearings

When a person fails to appear at a mandatory court setting, the judge has the power to issue what is known as a bench warrant. This warrant allows for the arrest of a person upon missing a court date. In many cases, these warrants are executed during routine traffic stops.

When a Suffolk resident misses a court date, their attorney could assist them with avoiding a bench warrant. In some cases, an attorney could explain the reason for a defendant missing the court date. It is possible that an attorney could convince a Suffolk court to set aside the bench warrant and dismiss your failure to appear charge.

Penalties for Failure to Appear

The penalties following a failure to appear conviction depend on the severity of the underlying criminal case. If the original case was a misdemeanor, failure to appear is a Class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction will lead to a maximum jail term of 12 months, a fine of no more than $2,500, or a combination of the two.

The penalties are much steeper if the underlying charge was a felony. In these cases, failure to appear is sentenced as a Class 6 felony. A Class 6 felony could result in a prison sentence between one and five years as well as a fine of up to $2,500.

In addition to these penalties, the failure to appear could also cost a defendant the bond they posted to get out of jail. It is typical for the court to require this bond forfeited at the time a bench warrant is issued. An experienced failure to appear lawyer in Suffolk could review the prosecution’s case and explain the specific penalties an individual could face.

Call a Suffolk Failure to Appear Attorney Immediately

If you missed court due to a mistake or circumstances outside of your control, you could have grounds to have a failure to appear charge dismissed. In some cases, your attorney could even help you have a bench warrant withdrawn.

Even when this is not possible, a Suffolk failure to appear lawyer could defend you at trial. Schedule an initial consultation to discuss your legal options.