When an individual is arrested and charged in Palm Beach County, regardless of whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor charge, they will likely have several court dates until their case is finally resolved. At each hearing, the defendant will be told of their next appearance. If you have failed to appear in court in Palm Beach County, here is what happens next.
Failure to Appear
If an individual fails to appear at their scheduled court date, the presiding judge will most likely issue a warrant for their arrest. In the State of Florida, willfully missing a scheduled court date is a criminal charge separate from the original charge. This separate charge is equal in severity to the original charge. If a person was on trial for a misdemeanor, for example, the charge for failure to appear in court will also be classified as a misdemeanor. Should the original charge be a felony, failure to appear in court will also be classed as a felony.
Consequences of Failing to Appear
In addition, a person who fails to appear in court could also result in the revocation of their bond status – meaning that they may be required to go back to jail for the remainder of their trial. Also, failure to appear provides increased strategies for the prosecution, who may use the failure to appear charge as leverage.
Failure to Appear Must Be Willful
When an individual is charged and arrested for failing to appear in court in Palm Beach County, it is necessary for prosecutors to prove that the individual missed their court appearance willfully. What this means is that the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove that the person was aware of the court date, but intentionally chose to miss it. If the defendant missed their court date either through a legitimate reason or by mistake, the charge of failing to appear cannot be proven.
Contact an Experienced South Florida Attorney Today
If you are charged with failing to appear in court in Palm Beach County, it is essential that you contact a criminal defense attorney right away. No matter why you missed your court date, an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer can protect your rights and fight your charge.
Chad Piotrowski has an extensive background in aggressively defending his clients from charges ranging from marijuana possession to armed drug trafficking and murder. A former prosecutor in Miami-Dade County, Chad Piotrowski has the unique ability to anticipate prosecution strategies to help build a solid defense to obtain the best possible outcome for his clients.