The consequences for failing to appear in court

Posted March 31st, 2015 by .

Categories: Legal Topics.

failing-to-appear-in-courtPerhaps you merely forgot the date of your court appearance.  Maybe you were afraid to face the proverbial music.  Think again.  There may be consequences for failing to appear in court.  You could make a somewhat simple matter evolve into a bad situation.

If you are issued a summons in municipal court for either parking tickets or motor vehicle offenses, there are clear rules concerning your failure to appear.  They are spelled out in New Jersey Court Rule 7:8-9.  If you fail to appear in court for a legal matter, the municipal court judge may order one of the following punishments:

  • Non-Parking Motor Vehicle Cases You may get one pass for failing to appear on cases that do not involve parking violations. The court will send out a failure to appear notice.  If you do not comply with the instructions in the notice, the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest.  The Division of Motor Vehicles will also receive notification of your failure to appear in court.  This could result in license suspension.
  • Parking Cases – It is not a good idea to ignore any parking violations. However, if you have two or more tickets in the same jurisdiction, you risk the issuance of an arrest warrant. There are exceptions to this rule.  Meanwhile, the vehicle owner may lose driving privileges for failing to pay tickets or appearing to fight them in municipal court.
  • Other Matters If the defendant does not appear in court after the proposed hearing date was announced in court, they may lose an important privilege. According to New Jersey Court Rule 7:8-7 , the proceeding may continue without the defendant’s appearance. This means that you would not have an opportunity to defend yourself.  Even if your case does not represent a motor vehicle offense, you may lose your license for failing to appear in court.  An arrest warrant may also be issue for you.

Superior Court offenses involve matters that are more serious.  Often, bail has been posted for criminal violations.  Obviously one consequence of failing to appear in Superior Court is the prospect of forfeiting the bail.  A warrant may be issued for your arrest, and your driving privileges suspended.

If you are involved in a civil case as a defendant and fail to appear, the judge will still require proof from the person bringing the case against you.  A judgment could then be entered against you.  Failure for a plaintiff to appear could result in dismissal of the claim.

If you failed to appear in court, it is important to retain legal representation.  The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone can assist you in rectifying your situation.  Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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