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What Happens If I Don't Show Up for My Court Date?


When a person is arrested, they are taken to the police station, booked, and held in custody until they are either able to post bail or are released by a judge on their “own recognizance,” known as an OR release. In order to be released, however, the defendant must agree to return to court on a certain date to face their charges.

But what happens if a person doesn’t show up?

Failure to Appear Charges

In the event that a defendant should not appear in court as required, a judge will issue a warrant for their arrest. If the defendant still does not show up within a reasonable timeframe or provide the courts with a legitimate reason for their prior absence, the prosecutor in their case may choose to charge the defendant with “Failure to Appear.” Depending on the initial crime for which the defendant is to be tried, a Failure to Appear charge may be either an additional misdemeanor or felony and may carry serious penalties upon conviction.

What Happens to Bail?

In addition, if a defendant fails to appear in court, any money they will have paid to the court as bail will be forfeited. Considering how bail can easily reach six and seven figures, this can be a devastating financial blow. If a bail bond agency was used to post bail, the bond agency will then be responsible for paying the full amount of the defendant’s bail unless they are able to successfully locate and surrender the defendant to the courts.

Charged with Failure to Appear? Call (414) 882-8382

If you have been charged with failure to appear, it is urgent you retain the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to guard your freedom and reputation against serious consequences. At the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella, our Milwaukee criminal lawyers have more than two decades of legal experience and can provide the tenacious advocacy you need.

Get in touch with us online today to find out more about how we can assist you.

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