A failure to appear can result from a variety of different circumstances, including not appearing in court after receiving a ticket or moving violations by the date or deadline listed on the violation citation. Signing the bottom of a ticket for a moving violation is acknowledging that you promise to appear by the court date set on the ticket. Another common reason for clients receiving failures to appear is by not paying your fine or completing your community service by the date set by the court.
A bench warrant is similar to a failure to appear, except they are ordered by a Judge in a misdemeanor or felony case. Once a bench warrant has been ordered, a bail amount is set by the judge. Essentially a bail or bond amount is the amount of money that must be posted by the person in custody to obtain their release. There are two ways to a obtain a person’s release who is in custody. The most common way is to retain the services of a qualified bail bondsman who can obtain one’s release for a fee of 8 to 10% of the bond amount. Frequently a bondsman requires some security like owning a house or other property in the jurisdiction where the person is in custody. Another less frequently used method is for the bond amount to be posted by paying the face value with a cashier’s check or money order. There is no loss of any of this money and no fee is charged by the court as long as the defendant makes all scheduled court appearances and is in full compliance with court orders.
Common causes of bench warrants are failing to appear in any scheduled court date or failing to comply with a court order like attending and alcohol program, paying a fine, completing community service or showing progress on any term or condition of probation. Another common source of a bench warrant is having the defendant violate his probation by being arrested for a similar charge or other offense.
Hiring an attorney experienced in clearing a bench warrants or failure to appear is always a good investment. Frequently an attorney skilled in the matters can convince the court that there are mitigating or extenuating circumstances for the client not appearing on time or completing court ordered obligations. The obvious benifet is to eliminate or reduce negative consequences.
Although it is not uncommon for clients with outstanding bench warrants or failures to appear to be fearful of going to court, and possibly been put in jail, it is always advisable to correct any such circumstance as soon after one becomes aware of any violation of a court obligation that has been accidentally or purposely neglected.
Our firm has cleared thousands of failures to appear and bench warrants restoring our clients to good status and preventing their arrest, losing their license, or other unpleasant consequences.