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While it is important to appear for a scheduled court date, it could happen for various reasons. In criminal cases, you may have an outstanding warrant for arrest for failure to appear and you may face additional charges. Given the severity of these potential consequences, you may need to call a Pelham failure to appear lawyer for advice.

A skilled defense attorney may be able to help you resolve your failure to appear case and minimize any consequences that might flow from that charge. Your legal advocate may be able to represent your interests before the court and work to solve your failure to appear issues with a minimum of disruption to your life.

Missing a Court Date in Pelham

While the penalties for failing to appear in court could vary somewhat among courts and case types, the fact is that even failing to appear in municipal court for a traffic ticket could have harsh consequences. For some minor traffic citations, i.e. speeding, individuals are not required to appear in court if they pay the ticket prior to their scheduled court dates and have not been convicted of two or more traffic offenses during the past 12 months.

If a person fails to pay their tickets prior to the court date, they must appear in court. If they do not appear as scheduled, the court may issue arrest warrants for their failure to appear and the Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS) may suspend their driving privileges. Individuals with questions about this issue may wish to contact a failure to appear lawyer in Pelham.

Other driving offenses that constitute misdemeanors require individuals to appear in court. Charges of reckless driving, DUI, or driving without insurance, for instance, require an appearance in court. If someone fails to appear in court for those charges as scheduled, the court could issue an arrest warrant for their failure to appear and suspend their license.

How the Type of Charge Effects the Consequences

Failing to appear at court dates in criminal misdemeanor and felony cases could have severe consequences. The court is likely to issue an arrest warrant. Any bond that the persons previously paid to be released from jail are typically forfeited to the court.

Individuals who fail to appear in court on criminal charges could be charged with the additional criminal offense of bail jumping. If persons are facing these failure to appear charges, it could be important that they consider speaking with a Pelham attorney.

Bail Jumping in the First Degree

Bail jumping in the first degree occurs pursuant to Ala. Code § 13A-10-39 when a person fails to appear at court dates for murder or a Class A or B felony charges. It could be a defense if the person is able to prove that their failure to appear was unintentional, unavoidable, or due to circumstances under their control. First-degree bail jumping is a Class C felony, which may result in a prison sentence ranging from one year and one day to ten years, as well as a $15,000 fine.

Bail Jumping the Second Degree

Ala. Code § 13A-10-40 provides for the offense of bail jumping in the second degree. For this offense to occur, a person must fail to appear as scheduled on Class C felony or misdemeanor charges. This does not include misdemeanor charges stemming from a traffic violation. This offense is a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $6,000.

Working with a Pelham Failure to Appear Attorney

A failure to appear warrant could cause you inconvenience and stress, and may also make it more likely that you will spend more time in jail. Having a failure to appear on your record also could make you less desirable to employers and more likely to suffer harsher consequences if you face other criminal charges in the future.

While missing a court date is unavoidable in some circumstances, there are a few situations that may permit you to escape the potentially harsh consequences of failing to appear. A Pelham failure to appear lawyer could provide advice on what to do next.