Facing Failure to Appear in Court Charges?
Failure to appear in court, or FTA charges, can have severe consequences and lead to a criminal record. If you miss jury duty or fail to appear in court when summoned, you can be arrested and subject to fines. Even minor cases, such as traffic violations, can lead to more serious charges if a court summons is ignored or forgotten.
If you missed a court date and have a bench warrant for your arrest, it is important to get legal counsel from a knowledgeable Maryland criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
If you failed to appear in court and the judge has issued a bench warrant for your arrest, get in touch with one of our experienced lawyers today. We can give you the legal guidance as to what to do next, and how to avoid serious charges.
What are Failure to Appear in Court Charges?
According to Maryland Criminal Procedure Code Ann. § 5-212, if a person fails to appear in court following a citation, a judge may issue a bench warrant for their arrest. This code primarily applies to defendants who have been released from jail as part of the Pretrial Release Services Program. Under this program, defendants are monitored until their hearing.
If you were released on bail or bond as part of the release services program and failed to appear in court, you could face misdemeanor FTA charges. A conviction can result in 90 days in prison and a fine of up to $500.
Missed Court Date for Traffic Violation
Failure to appear in traffic court following a traffic violation can result in the suspension of your driver’s license. If you failed to appear for trial, most likely your license has already been suspended. Driving with a suspended license is a criminal offense and can result in fines and/or jail time.
Failing to Appear for Jury Duty
Under Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code. Ann. § 8-504, missing jury duty can result in up to 60 days in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. To avoid these penalties, you may be required to show good cause for missing the intended court date.
Defenses for FTA Charges
Motion to Recall Bench Warrant
If you failed to appear in court and have a bench warrant for your arrest, an experienced criminal defense attorney can file a motion to recall the warrant. This motion can persuade a judge to remove or “quash” the warrant and set a new court date.
If you accidentally missed jury duty, or any court appearance, a skilled Maryland defense attorney can demonstrate that you did not intentionally miss your court date. By explaining the circumstances around the missed appearance, a lawyer can argue that you intended to appear. If this is successful, your charges may be dropped and a new court date assigned.
Contact Houlon Berman
If you are facing FTA charges, the attorneys at Houlon Berman can help. With over 40 years of experience providing knowledgeable legal counsel in Maryland, we have the know-how to craft an effective defense tailored to your situation.