When a person is arrested for a crime, whether he or she actually committed the crime or not, they will most likely be required to appear in court. Some people are held in jail until the time of their court date, while others (usually those who pay bail) are not. Legally, a person who is called to trial needs to be in court when they are supposed to be. If they do not show up, then they may be considered to be a fugitive of the law. Things only get stickier from here on out.
What Happens Right Away?
For the purposes of this article, we are going to assume that a person has skipped court either on purpose or simply because he or she forgot about it. Missing court due to illness or emergency will likely be treated differently by the court system, so long as the person set to be on trial notifies his or her lawyer or the courthouse ahead of time.
In this scenario, our defendant has skipped court. Within a day, the court may put out a warrant for the person’s arrest. These warrants are sometimes called “bench warrants”. This can happen no matter what the crime the person is on trial for was. However, the more severe the crime, the more seriously the court will take the skip. Along with the warrant, there may be extra fines and even jail time.
If a person was out on bail, the courthouse may also put out a bond revocation. When this happens, a person can no longer be let out on bail if they are caught again. He or she must wait in jail until the trial because they will be considered to be a flight risk.
What Is a Bench Warrant?
A bench warrant is called a “bench warrant” because a person did not appear at the judge’s bench in a courthouse when it was time for his or her court hearing. Bench warrants are usually only given when a person fails to appear in court. If a person has a bench warrant out for him or herself, then they are officially a fugitive. This means any police officer or personnel can arrest him or her and take them to jail, even if they are not caught in the act of committing another crime.
Luckily, anyone can hire a bench warrant attorney to help him or herself. Most people can benefit from having an attorney on their side, especially when it comes to something as serious as having a bench warrant. These attorneys can help to keep a person out of jail before his or her court hearing.
What If I am Innocent?
In the United States, all people are considered to be innocent until proven guilty. However, when it comes to appearing in court, the judge doesn’t care if a person is innocent or not. Whether a person is innocent or guilty, he or she needs to appear in court to try his or her case. Failure to do so, even if the person is eventually found to be innocent, can still result in a bench warrant, fines, or jail time.
Even if a person is innocent and skips court, he or she can get a bench warrant. This is because the court has not determined a person’s guilt. Even if a person is innocent of the crime she or he is on trial for, he or she can still be found guilty of skipping court, which can land him or her jail time anyway.
It should be noted that each state in the United States is allowed to make its own laws when it comes to fines and other punishments for failure to appear in court. This article includes what will happen in most states if a person skips out on his or her court date. However, since laws vary by state, it is always best to check out your state’s laws to make sure that you have the most accurate information available. No matter what, make sure to appear for your court appointment to avoid all of this mess!