What Happens When You Miss a Court Date in Pennsylvania?
When you receive a court summons at a specific date, you don’t want to miss it. It can be an intimidating place, but you are legally obligated to make an appearance. If you don’t do it, you may end up in more dire circumstances than you started. Having a criminal defense attorney at your side can help you alleviate the fear and hesitation you have.
According to Pennsylvania State Law, if you fail to attend a hearing ordered by the court, they can issue a bench warrant for your arrest. This means that the police have a legal right to put you in custody and hold you for up to 72 hours until another hearing. They will not actively search for you, but they can arrest you if they notice the warrant.
For example, if the police pull you over while driving and see an active warrant, they can take you in. There are also cases where the court can order bondsmen to look for you. These businesses only get paid if they complete the job, and they will look for you aggressively.
If you’ve already been in a case before, it will be hard to post bail. Aside from getting arrested, you could experience any of the following:
- Bond forfeiture
- Suspension of driver’s license
Once you have a bench warrant, it means you are in contempt of court. It means that you have willfully disobeyed court orders. This is not as severe as other criminal warrants, but it can still cause some problems. The fines and charges will depend on the judge’s discretion.
Can I Contact the Court After I Miss the Date?
You can alleviate the consequences if you come forward willingly. Doing so as early as possible can help your case. The longer you wait, the worse it can get. Even if you missed a court date for unpaid parking tickets, the police still see you as a criminal if you have a warrant.
At this point, you have to be very cooperative with them. You can plead the case, but at this point, you are at the mercy of the court’s judgment. To improve your chances, you’ll need to hire a lawyer first before contacting the court.
What Happens if I Miss the Court Date Due to an Emergency?
Emergencies can happen. You could’ve been in a traffic accident that led to you missing out on any appointments that day. In these circumstances, there is a chance for the court to drop the bench warrant. Here are some of the most common scenarios that lead people to miss a court appearance:
- Medical emergency
- Emergency related to a family member
- Car accident
The event that prevented you from going to court must coincide with the dates set. If you went to the doctor a few days before the court appearance, you’ll have a hard time justifying why you missed your court date. The best thing to do is to notify the court as early as possible.
There are rare cases where you have a bench warrant but didn’t receive a notice to go to court beforehand. If you did not receive it, then the courts have no right to issue an order for your arrest. However, you’ll need to be proactive about defending your case. Judges will treat each case differently.
Still, the best option here is to seek out a criminal defense lawyer. They will know how to handle your situation and set you up for the best possible outcome. They’ve handled cases like this before and will know what to do.
Should I Hire a Lawyer?
If you have no reason for missing your court date, you’ll need a skilled Erie defense lawyer to provide you with options. Defending your case in this scenario can be difficult, so you need to work with a lawyer as early as possible to alleviate any consequences.
Other than that, an experienced specialist can help you with many aspects of bench arrest. Here are some things they can help you with:
- Your defense strategy
- Gathering evidence to prove your defense
- Coordinate the next scheduled court date
- Examine the issued bench warrant and its details
- Ascertain the possible consequences of missing the set court date
When you missed a court date, it can be easy to focus on your absence and the bench warrant. Remember that you still have a case that led to your situation. The court will still need to address the initial issue — whether criminal or otherwise. You’ll have to defend your case when the court discusses it.
When you work with an attorney, they can build up a strategy in both regards. They’ll know how to deal with any criminal charges you have. Choosing the best defense for your case is essential if you want to remove or lower the consequences. Legal help will defend you from any life-altering convictions.
Do not try and wait out the bench warrant; get into contact with an attorney as soon as possible to help push the court’s favor towards you. You do not want to contact the court on your own if you’re already in a dire situation. Hiring a lawyer that has the knowledge and experience will be the smartest thing to do.
Hire Panighetti Law Today
Missing a court date can happen due to many circumstances. When it does, you need the help of Panighetti Law to build your defense. They are one of the most trusted criminal defense attorneys in Pennsylvania. Even a small matter can escalate if you don’t have the legal representation for your case.
Do not wait another moment, or you could end up worsening your situation. Contact Panighetti Law today, and get the assistance you need.