Florida Failure to Appear Lawyer

One of the biggest mistakes a criminal defendant can make is failing to appear at court. Missing a court appearance offers zero benefits, as it adds another criminal charge to the ones you already face. As well as most significantly, it makes the judge mad. 

Many judges will issue a bench warrant for failure to appear (FTA). A bench warrant allows the police will arrest you if they come into contact with you. They may even seek you out to arrest you. FTA can also impact your eligibility for bond and may result in you staying in jail until your trial. 

A Florida failure to appear lawyer will advise you to appear at all hearings. However, if you have already missed a scheduled hearing, our seasoned criminal defense attorneys could still help. They can arrange for you to surrender and reschedule your court appearance. However, you must know that FTA will negatively impact your options in your original criminal case. 

The Role of Bail

To understand why the courts treat FTA like such an egregious offense, it is crucial to understand the role of bail in the criminal justice system. Ideally, bail’s only function should be to ensure that a defendant appears at trial. So, when the court releases a defendant before trial, whether or not they require a cash bail, they rely on the defendant to appear. 

FTA alters the schedule, not just for that defendant, but for prosecutors, witnesses, and the court itself. As a result, law enforcement often treats FTA as a severe offense. The court can impose fines, suspend driver’s licenses, and issue a bench warrant. 

Perhaps the most significant consequence of FTA occurs when the court revokes the defendant’s bond. They can put the defendant back in jail and may not allow them to bond out before trial. That can impact a defendant’s ability to participate in their own defense, keep a job, interrupt family life, and more. A Florida lawyer handling FTA cases could help by convincing the court that the failure to appear was a mistake and that the defendant should be able to remain out of jail. 

Impact of FTA on Underlying Charges

Many defendants fail to consider the impact of FTA on their underlying criminal charges. Not showing up in court makes a person look guilty. While a jury may not have access to that information, the judge will know about it. So will the prosecutor. Which will give a defendant less leverage in any plea negotiations. 

Plus, when someone is factually innocent of the charges, most people will choose to fight those charges. However, the calculation changes if someone has to sit in jail while awaiting trial. Depending on the original charge, entering a guilty plea may be easier and more convenient than sitting in jail and waiting. So, in many ways, FTA can heavily impact the outcome of the original charges. 

A Florida failure-to-appear attorney will attempt to mitigate the impact of the FTA. By doing so, they help defendants avoid penalties for failing to appear and improve their chances in the underlying criminal case. 

Speak With a Failure to Appear Attorney in Florida

The best action is to consult an attorney before missing a court date. Sometimes, you may have unavoidable conflicts. However, well-practiced lawyers can often get the court to grant a continuance, allowing you to reschedule an appearance without any penalties.  

If you have already missed a scheduled court appearance, obtaining an attorney’s help is essential. The odds are high that the court will issue a bench warrant and the Police could be actively looking to arrest you. Your dedicated attorney can negotiate with the prosecution and the court to arrange for your surrender or to quash the bench warrant. The more cooperative you are, the greater the chance the court will reissue a bond. Talk with a Florida failure-to-appear lawyer from the Platinum Criminal Defense Law Firm today to get help with your case.