If you are charged with a crime in New Jersey, you are going to be assigned a court date. It is important to keep track of this date and remember to show up in court when your presence is required. If you do not show up when you are asked to, you can be charged with a failure to appear and you will end up facing even harsher punishments. This is why hiring an experienced Bergen County criminal defense attorney who can keep track of these important dates for you can be a wise idea.
When you are charged with a crime, you are usually given a few dates when you will need to go to court again. If you decide not to show up for court, that can get you charged with a failure to appear. So now you have another charge and potential punishments to deal with simply because you did not keep your calendar in order or take the court seriously.
The state courts have a lot of cases to deal with. Judges do not want to deal with a defendant who will not treat the court with respect and show up on the required dates. If you waste the court’s time, you can expect to be punished.
The punishments for a failure to appear can vary depending on what kinds of charges you are facing and which court you were supposed to appear in. Failing to appear in municipal court often results in a fine and the case being rescheduled. In some cases, a judge can forfeit your bail. That means that you would need to pay bail again or spend the rest of the time awaiting your day in court in a prison cell.
Failing to appear in superior court can result in more severe penalties. You can lose driving privileges and face additional charges, including bail-jumping. This charge alone can be a third-degree crime that carries a prison sentence of up to five years.
Maybe you just made an honest mistake. If that is the case, then take responsibility and apologize for missing the court date and be ready to accept the punishments. Making excuses is not going to work here. Barring a real emergency, like a sudden and unexpected visit to the hospital, most reasons for missing a court date are not going to impress a judge. So simply take responsibility and hope for a lesser punishment.
Also keep in mind that having a criminal defense lawyer who can keep track of important dates for you can help you avoid a failure to appear charge in the first place.
If you have been charged with a crime, you need to have a knowledgeable defense attorney by your side. Contact the Law Office of Attorney Conway and learn more about how a lawyer can be of assistance.