When a judge releases you on bail, they do so on the condition that you return. Failing to return to court at the appointed time will likely get you in more trouble than you began with. Having someone on your side when it’s time to face those consequences can help.Charged with a crime in New Jersey? Please call (800) 673-3656
Criminal charges are scary. A judge holds the power to lock you up. A defense attorney holds the power to ensure your rights are protected at every stage of the process and to help you get the best possible results on your day in court.
When you miss a court date, it is likely tempting to just try and avoid the consequences. The fact is: you will one day have to face them. Contact me today to discuss the best way to do this.
What is bail?
Bail is, in essence a promise to return to court. Even if you are released on your “own recognizance” or without posting money, you have promised the court that you will be back.
Failing to follow through on this promise is not only a direct disregard of a judge’s order but it is a criminal act.
What happens if I miss court?
You can be charged with bail jumping or failure to appear whether or not you had to pay bail.
When you do not show up for your court appearance, a warrant can be issued for your arrest. Turning yourself in before that warrant is served is often a good way of showing the court you have good intentions. Contact me to discuss the benefits of turning yourself in and exactly how to go about it.
The criminal Failure to Appear charge you face depends on the case you currently have pending.
In other words if you failed to show up for a case that involved a fourth degree criminal charge, you can be charged with an additional fourth degree crime of failure to appear.
Likewise, if the charge you didn’t appear for was a third degree offense or greater, you will face a failure to appear charge that is a 3rd degree crime.
In essence, failing to appear for a court date can double the charges against you. If you were facing one 3rd degree crime, you can now be facing two.
Ref: 2C: 29-7
But I didn’t know about the court date!
If you honestly didn’t know you were supposed to be in court on the appointed day and time, we may be able to get the charges dismissed.
Under New Jersey criminal statutes, it is an “affirmative defense” to the crime of failure to appear to prove the defendant (you) didn’t knowingly fail to appear.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your failure to appear charges, I want to help. I have helped many clients handle charges like this and am confident I can help you.
Contact me today for some valuable legal advice. I look forward to speaking with you!
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