When a person gets out of a Culpeper jail following an arrest, one of the conditions of their release is a promise to attend every subsequent court date. Failing to appear to a scheduled court date can lead to criminal charges as well as a bench warrant for your arrest. A practiced criminal defense attorney might be able to explain the potential consequences of a conviction for failure to appear.
A warrant will not always catch up with you right away. If you avoid traffic stops, you could go months or years with a warrant going unserved. Eventually, though, your luck will run out. If you are arrested on a failure to appear warrant, or if you want to resolve a warrant without an arrest, a Culpeper failure to appear lawyer might be able to help you.
According to Virginia Statute 19.2-128, a defendant must appear at every scheduled hearing, court date, or trial unless instructed otherwise by the court. Following a conviction, the court can require a defendant to appear at any time during sentencing. A failure to appear at these court dates results in a criminal charge that can be challenging for a Culpeper failure to appear attorney to disprove.
The consequences of a failure to appear conviction depend primarily on the underlying case. While the consequences can be severe in either case, failing to appear on a felony case carries stiffer penalties than with a misdemeanor charge.
Missing a misdemeanor court date in a Culpeper circuit court will lead to an additional failure to appear charge added to a case. In these cases, failure to appear is a class 1 misdemeanor. A class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in county jail, a maximum fine of $2,500, or both. A defendant could face these penalties even if they prevail at trial on the underlying charge.
The consequences of a felony failure to appear are much more severe. If convicted of failure to appear, a defendant will face a prison sentence of up to five years. Additionally, they could also face a fine of up to $2,500. It is also common for a judge to deny bail to anyone charged with felony failure to appear.
Bench warrants issued due to a failure to appear can last forever in law enforcement databases. While criminal charges have a statute of limitations, no deadline renders a bench warrant unenforceable. It is not uncommon for drivers pulled over for minor traffic incidents to learn that they have a years-old bench warrant of which they were not aware. In those cases, the age of the warrant will not save a motorist from being arrested by law enforcement on the warrant.
The longevity of bench warrants is another reason why engaging with a failure to appear lawyer in Culpeper is so valuable. The right legal counsel could help you deal with any lingering failure to appear charges as well as any arrest warrants that come with it.
Failing to appear at your mandatory court date only adds to the potential consequences of a criminal case. These cases not only can result in additional jail time, but they could cost you an opportunity at bail while waiting to resolve your underlying charge.
If you need legal representation in a failure to appear case, or if you want to take care of a bench warrant before it results in your arrest, you could benefit from discussing your case with a Culpeper failure to appear lawyer. Call today to schedule an initial consultation.