Four months after visiting some family in DC, I was notified of very serious allegations made against me. I had just moved to a new city and didn’t know who to turn to, but I knew I needed a skilled criminal defense attorney. I started my search online and came across Jason Kalafat’s profile. The […]
Washington DC Failure to Appear Lawyer
If you’ve been charged with a crime in the District of Columbia, you need to take the courtroom process very seriously, as missing a date can compound your legal problems. A DC failure to appear charge can have an immediate and significant impact on your pending case and your freedom. Whether you have an outstanding bench warrant for failing to appear or you have already been arrested and need an advocate in your corner, DC failure to appear lawyer Jason Kalafat can work with you to mitigate the consequences.
“Failure to Appear” is the crime of willfully failing to appear for a court date for which you have been sufficiently notified, and for which you have either promised to appear, been ordered to appear, or both. However, failure to appear varies in severity depending on who is required to appear and the crime with which the person is charged. Below are some example of different scenarios where failure to appear has serious repercussions. In each case, it is important to consult with a DC failure to appear lawyer to see the potential consequences of the charge and to ascertain whether a bench warrant has been issued.
Failure to Appear: Felonies
If a person has been released prior to beginning his or her sentence on bond or on his/her own recognizance, in connection with being charged with a felony, then “failure to appear” is governed by DC Code Section 23-1327(a)(1). This applies to any individual who was released while in the judicial process leading up to the commencement of the person’s sentence– whether in the pretrial stage before being convicted or after conviction while awaiting sentencing, pending appeal, or certiorari.
If an individual applies to the situation described above and then proceeds to fail to appear as required, the penalty is one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Keep in mind that this penalty is in addition to the penalty of the felony. This is a very serious charge, and if this has happened to you, please contact a failure to appear attorney in DC.
Failure to Appear: Misdemeanors
If an individual has been released prior to beginning his or her sentence on bond or on his/her own recognizance, in connection with being charged with a misdemeanor, then failure to appear is governed by DC Code Section 23-1327(a)(2). In such a case, the individual will likely have been notified before or during release when that person has been ordered to appear.
If the individual then proceeds to fail to appear as required, then the penalty is the fine associated with the original misdemeanor involved and 90 to 180 days in jail.
Failure to Appear: Material Witnesses
If an individual has been released specifically for the purpose to appear as a material witness, then that individual is governed by DC Code Section 23-1327(a)(3). If the individual then fails to appear as required, then the penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail.
Failure to Appear: Fugitives
If an individual is a fugitive and has been arrested and then released with a court order to appear in court on a certain day, then failure to appear is governed by DC Code Section 23-703. A fugitive in this case is any individual who is in the District of Columbia, has been charged with any crime in any state, and must be delivered to that state or jurisdiction.
If a person meeting the requirement of Section 23-702 and Section 23-703 fails to appear as required, then that person faces penalties of a fine not to exceed $5,000 and/or up to five years in prison.
Failure to Appear Lawyer
When a judge sets a court date, it’s of vital importance to show up. Whether the date simply slipped your mind, or something else urgent came up, missed a court date will result in a bench warrant for your arrest that can be issued immediately, and tack on additional criminal charges.
When a judge allows your release on bond in the midst of a criminal case, he or she does so because he or she does not believe you are a “flight risk”. In other words, the judge has some level of confidence that you will return to court when you are directed to. Failing to show could lead to serious consequences. If you are out on bond and fail to appear, your bond will be revoked and a warrant will be issued. Unless you work with a DC criminal defense attorney to rectify the situation, you could spend the rest of your case behind bars, having given the impression to the judge that you are not able to show up when directed.
If your original charge was a traffic offense, you risk the loss of your license. Lost driving privileges, a warrant for your immediate arrest, and a new criminal charge of failure to appear are all consequences that can cause serious stress, particularly when you have a current case already pending.
A DC failure to appear attorney can help you minimize the impact of your missed court date. If you have an active bench warrant, avoiding it will not make it go away. Contact attorney Jason Kalafat today to discuss the best way to handle your latest case.
Our law firm also provides defense against Failure to Appear charges in Virginia, so visit this link for more information if you have been charged with this offense in the Commonwealth.