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Avoiding Bail Jumping: What to Do When You Miss a Court Date in CT
Bail jumping or failing to be on time for your court date can result in an FTA (Failure to Appear) bond. If you use a bail bond agent to post your bail, they want to find you and get you to the judge as soon as possible. When you fail to appear, your bond agent is responsible for the full amount of your bail.
Intentionally doing this is never a good idea, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Even if you have an emergency that makes it impossible to show up for court, the judge will issue a warrant to force you to appear in court, and you could face additional charges. Here’s what to do if your court date comes, but you didn’t show up.
What Are the Circumstances?
Refusing to show up to your court date is a bad idea, especially if you face a significant felony offense. Your release on bail doesn’t absolve you of the crimes your allegedly committed. Bail release is an exchange of money for your temporary freedom until your trial.
However, if you had every intention of being in court, but something happened to make it impossible to get there, the judge can consider your circumstances. If you don’t have a history of arrests or skipping court dates, the judge might offer leniency. A family emergency, sudden illness, or other legitimate reason that kept you from appearing can keep you from landing back in jail for violating your bail agreement.
What Are the Consequences?
The judge can impose severe consequences if you fail to appear. Your court date is not an option. It’s critical to do everything you can to be there on time or you risk:
- Bond forfeiture and a return to jail
- Facing additional charges for failing to appear
- Losing your driver’s license
- Automatically losing your case and facing sentencing for your charges
- Additional fines
A Failure to Appear charge stays on your record. If you face another arrest, a judge will see your prior FTA and can decide not to offer bail for your next offense.
What Should You Do?
As soon as you realize that you missed your court appearance, call your bond agent. If you know ahead of time that you can’t make your scheduled appearance, cal your bond agent and your lawyer.
A judge is more likely to consider your circumstances if you proactively try to resolve the situation when you face a Failure to Appear warrant (or a “bench” warrant). Your bond agent can contact the court and let them know they’ve been in touch with you. Your lawyer can help you reschedule your court date and walk you through what to expect when you explain your FTA to the judge.
Avoid a Bail Jumping Charge!
A bail jumping charge is a serious offense. No matter the severity of your charges, it’s never worth it to skip your court date. Whether it’s an emergency or you simply forgot, get help if you miss your court date.
If you have questions about FTAs or other bonds, contact 007 Bail Bonds!