When you are given a hearing date in the Pennsylvania courts, you should probably show up. Failing to appear, whether it was for a drug charge or a relatively minor hearing, can cause significant trouble down the road. And no matter how long you wait, the trouble won’t go away until you decide or are forced to handle it.
You may have missed your initial court date because you had something come up, you didn’t have transportation, or there was an emergency.
But unless you take steps to remedy the situation asap, the consequences can be significant. If you haven’t been arrested yet, now is your best time to fix this problem. if you are caught while you are considered a fugitive, things get much more complicated. Contact us for legal help in fixing this problem immediately, before you are arrested.
If you’ve already been arrested, we have fewer options, but we can still work to put together some possible defense strategies.
Pennsylvania Failure to Appear / Outstanding Criminal Warrant
What happens if I missed my court date?
A missed court date will result in the issuance of a bench warrant.
A bench warrant is just what it sounds like, an arrest warrant issued from the judge’s bench. But this warrant isn’t only available to the judge and those in his court, it’s accessible to every single police officer within the state (and even in other states).
This means a simple traffic stop could result in your immediate arrest and detention. If you are arrested on a bench warrant, you can be held up to 72 hours before you get a hearing on it. This is a possible three whole days in jail before you are even given a chance to explain.
In many cases, a missed court date can be resolved with the help of your attorney in only a matter of minutes, without you having to go to jail at all. But, when you wait for the warrant to catch up with you, you will be arrested and held until things are sorted out.
Many people believe their problems will just “go away” if they wait long enough. A bench warrant will not go away.
If you know that you have an active warrant for your arrest, you could save time and stress by working with an attorney to resolve matters. This could involve turning yourself in, but it will look much better to a judge if you decided to handle matters of your own accord instead of hiding from the courts until you are eventually arrested.
A criminal defense attorney can help you examine your options and choose the best way of handling things. You can’t hide from a failure to appear warrant forever and being proactive about the situation is far better than waiting on an arrest.
Whether you ditched your court date on purpose or if you have a legitimate excuse, we can help.