What Happens If I Fail to Appear in Court in Florida?

Knowing your legal rights and obligations is important, especially when you must appear before a judge. If you do not respond to a court summons or fail to appear in court, you may suffer some serious legal repercussions.

Here is a broad overview of how a court summons works and what may happen if you do not obey one in Florida.

Penalties for Failing to Appear in Court in Florida

If you miss your court date without a valid excuse, you can face:

  • Fines
  • Imprisonment
  • A warrant for your arrest

The severity of the penalties depends on the nature of the case and the judge's discretion. For instance, someone who misses court for a murder trial is likely to face much steeper punishments than someone who misses a traffic ticket dispute.

Receiving an Arrest Warrant for Missing Your Court Appointment

You can face an arrest warrant for missing in any type of case. It could be a criminal, civil, or even family matter.

When you miss your appointed trial, the judge can issue a bench warrant against you. This authorizes law enforcement to arrest you at any time.

Depending on the severity of the original charge, you may face penalties such as fines or extended jail time.

What to Do if You Miss a Court Date in Florida

If you have missed your court date, you must take immediate action. Contact an attorney who can help you navigate the situation and get you back on track.

Avoiding future court appearances will make matters worse, so work on ways to keep track of upcoming court dates. Take every possible step to ensure you can attend. By taking responsibility and being proactive, you can avoid further repercussions and work toward resolving the issue at hand.

Additionally, you can hire a bail bondsman to post bail. This will help show the court that you're taking responsibility for your actions and helping secure your release.

Stay in communication with the court, and provide a valid reason for your absence.

Failing to Appear: The Difference Between Civil and Criminal Cases

When it comes to not appearing in court, there are distinct differences between civil and criminal cases.

In a civil case, if you fail to show up for a scheduled court date, the court may enter a default judgment against you. This means that the other party automatically wins the case.

As we have already stated, failing to appear in criminal court may result in a bench warrant. Criminal charges are considered more severe than civil matters, so the court takes them more seriously.

Failing to Appear in Court as a Witness

You could also face penalties if you are required to appear as a witness. In some situations, the judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest, and you could be charged with contempt of court. This can result in fines or even jail time.

In addition to the legal consequences, your reputation and credibility can suffer. Failing to appear may cause others to view you as unreliable or untrustworthy.

If you’ve been accused of missing your court date, The Law Offices of Phillip T. Ridolfo, Jr. is here to help. We may be able to plead your case to the court and help get bench warrants and other penalties removed. For a free consultation, call us right away at (561) 475-2752 or contact us online.


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