More than 10 million people are arrested in the United States every year. If you are among these, you have likely gone through the bail bonds process and have an arraignment set.
You may be wondering what happens if you miss your court date? The short answer is that missing a court date when out on bail is a big deal. But the good news is that, in situations that prohibit you from appearing, there are some things you can do.
The information below explains the very serious repercussions of not appearing at a court hearing. It also provides some steps you can take to should extenuating circumstances arise.
Bail Bonds Basics
Bail is the amount that a defendant must put forward to gain release from jail. It acts as a guarantee that they will show up at their arraignment. If the person does so, the court refunds the amount, minus some administrative fees.
The median bail for felonies in the United States is upwards of $10,000. It can be much lower for misdemeanors but varies depending on the charges and the jurisdiction.
When faced with bail, you can either come up with the full amount yourself or use a bail bonds agency. These companies put up bail and you pay them a set percentage of the fee.
What Happens If You Miss Your Court Date?
If you do not show up at a scheduled hearing, there are several effects it will trigger. In response to a failure to appear in court, the judge will issue a bench warrant, which will appear in police databases. If you are, for instance, pulled over during this time, it is likely that law enforcement will arrest you.
The only way to satisfy a bench warrant is for you to appear before a judge. This could take up to several days or even longer, during which time you will remain in jail.
Also, failure to appear results in bail forfeiture, meaning the court keeps the full amount. This also means that you will owe the entire amount to the bail bonds service.
The most important thing you can do if you know you will not be able to attend a court date is to contact your attorney or public defender. Even if it is a last-minute emergency, communication is the best policy.
If you become ill or have other extenuating circumstances, your attorney will be able to tell you what to do. They can relay this information to the court and possibly have the hearing moved to another day.
You also should let your bail bond agency know about the situation. It is imperative that they have all information about the circumstances and any rescheduled court dates. They can also provide you with helpful advice about what happens if you miss your court date.
Know What to Do If You Miss a Court Hearing
Now that you have an idea of what happens if you miss your court date, you can take steps to ensure that you are present. If circumstances beyond your control arise, the best course of action is to contact the attorneys representing you and the bail bond agency. Being upfront about what is going on will help minimize negative outcomes.
At Absolute Bail Bonds, we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for fast, reliable service. We work with each client to help them during this difficult time to ensure the best possible outcome for their case. If you find yourself or a loved one in need of bail bonds services in the Raleigh and greater Wake County area, reach out to our agents to learn about the services we provide.