Failing to show up for a court date when directed by a judge is deemed as a criminal offence, same as failing to appear for fingerprinting and photographs as directed by the police. A legal charge may be filed against an individual who’ve committed any of the above. More information about handling a charge of ‘failing to appear in court’ is shared below.
Am I Guilty of Failing to Appear in Court if I Forgot About My Court Date?
For someone to be considered guilty of a ‘failure to appear in court’ charge, the act of not showing up for a hearing or not showing up for fingerprinting and photographs must be deliberate. It must be proven as an intentional act committed by the individual. Forgetting to appear in court will not lead to a conviction if it can be proven that the action was not done with intent.
Are There Lawful Excuses for Failing to Appear in Court?
Missing out on a court date may be accepted by a court provided that there was a really good reason for the act. Lawful reasons include health reasons necessitating a hospital stay as well as other circumstances that will make it physically impossible for a person to be in court (such as being in jail for an unrelated charge). Inexcusable reasons include being hungover, not waking up on time, or attending another engagement such as a job interview.
What to Do If I Missed My Court Date?
A warrant of arrest will be issued by the judge if a person failed to appear in court. As for photograph and fingerprinting, the police will issue a similar warrant. It is best to contact the court (or the police) as soon as possible with your lawyer’s help as soon as the mistake has been realized. If nothing is done within 2 to 3 days, the warrant will stay and have to be enforced.
Will Surrendering Help Prevent a Charge?
Surrendering one’s self as soon as possible together with your lawyer’s explanation is often enough to get charges of ‘failing to appear in court’ dropped as well as for the warrant to be canceled.
Remember that timing and prompt action is of the essence if you failed to make an appearance in court. You need a defence lawyer who can present your reasons in a positive light to avoid a charge and a conviction. Calvin Barry is a Toronto criminal lawyer who can help. Contact Calvin Barry today!