Question for Attorney Carbone: What if I Don’t Go to Court?
Question: A couple of months ago I was arrested after drugs were found in my car. I am currently out on bail. My court date falls on the same date as my mother going into the hospital for surgery. Since she is elderly, I want to be there in case something happens during the salary. I was told if I pled guilty I would only get probation, which I was planning on doing. Do I still need to go to court for my case?
Answer: We’re sorry to hear about your mother. However, if you are pleading guilty you will still need to go to court. Otherwise, you’re going to be facing greater consequences than what you’re charged with.
The severity of you missing court first depends on where your case is being heard — municipal or superior court. If you fail to miss your court date in municipal court, the judge may issue a “failure to appear” notice, which means your case will be rescheduled to another day. However, the judge could also issue a warrant for your arrest.
If your case is rescheduled, you must provide an explanation for skipping the original date. If it wasn’t an emergency, then the judge may issue a fine. In addition, your bail could be revoked and you must either re-post your bail or go back to jail.
If you miss a superior court date, then the situation becomes more serious. An arrest warrant will automatically be issued. Not only will your bail be revoked but you will be facing some hefty penalties, depending on the severity of your crime. For example, if you are charged with a second-degree crime and miss your court date, this is considered a third-degree bail jumping crime which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine. So even if you are found innocent of the original crime, you are still facing a serious crime.
However, there are times when an emergency situation arises that prevents you from going to court. If this is the case, then you need to bring proper documentation to show the reason why you missed the court date. You will also want to speak with your defense attorney immediately so he can explain your situation to the court.
The truth of the matter is your mother’s surgery may not be considered an emergency situation. But speak with your lawyer and he may try to get the court date moved to another day.
Do you have a question that you would like Attorney Carbone to answer in the future? Let us know. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.