A person fails to appear in court when they are scheduled for a hearing or trial. A judge may issue a bench warrant during a hearing or trial if it becomes clear that the defendant won’t show up in court as punishment for failing to appear.
A bench warrant is a court order that the defendant is detained for failing to show up for the hearing. It is a crime in Nevada to skip a scheduled court appearance.
You may be required to appear in court for a variety of reasons, such as:
- You receive a traffic ticket and must attend traffic court;
- You are accused of a crime;
- You are requested to testify as a witness in a court case;
- You are the target of private litigation; or
- You are called to jury duty.
When you are ordered to appear in court, you often have to do so on a predetermined date and time. For instance, a traffic ticket issued by the police typically includes a court date. You must appear in court on the day set by the judge.
You missed your court date if you “FTA” (failure to appear). In other words, you failed to appear in court on the scheduled date. If this occurs, the court will frequently accuse you of failing to appear in court. FTA is a common court abbreviation.
FTA indicates in court that you have been charged criminally for failing to appear. Failure to appear is a felony that carries legal repercussions. The repercussions of failing to show up might be many. The results will vary according to the specifics of your case. You could occasionally only need to pay a minor fine. A court may issue an arrest warrant in other circumstances.
Where Should I Appear in Court, and When?
In most cases, appearing in court is relatively easy. To “appear in court,” all you need to do is show up in the courtroom on the designated day and hour. Your court date will include the location, the time, and the date. In a legal document, your court date will be stated.
Subpoenas, Citations, and Summons
Police officers most frequently issue citations when someone is pulled over for breaking a traffic rule. A traffic ticket is a common name for the citation. It is given to someone for specific movement and speeding infractions. There will be information about the location, date, and time of your court appearance on the citation or traffic ticket. You may opt to simply pay the fine in advance of your court hearing in some circumstances. You may avoid having to go to court if you choose to do this. Call the traffic court to confirm that they have received your payment and that you are not required to appear. Typically, an internet search will yield the traffic court’s phone number. Your traffic ticket likely contains the name and/or address of the traffic court.
When you receive a traffic ticket, there are a variety of reasons why you might wish to go to court. If you appear in court, you can admit to the infraction but argue for a lesser penalty.
Another option is to try to negotiate a bargain in which you admit guilt to a traffic offense with less severe charges and harsher punishments. Finally, you have the option of choosing to enter a not-guilty plea and request a trial in traffic court.
A summons is a formal document used in both civil and criminal proceedings. A summons is required for all litigants and defendants in criminal cases. The summons will specify the day, hour, and location of the court hearing. It is a crucial piece of legal documentation.
You must reply to a summons and show up in court on the designated date if you receive one. If a summons is disregarded, harsh penalties may result. You risk losing your civil case if you don’t react or show up. You might also be charged with additional crimes if the summons is related to a criminal matter.
Additionally, a summons is used for jury duty. You must present in court on the specified date and time if you receive a summons to serve on a jury. There may be consequences if you fail to report for jury service. You might have to pay penalties. In some circumstances, you might even serve time in jail.
An example of a court order is a subpoena. People are typically informed that they must show up in court for a certain legal process. The most frequent application of a subpoena is when a witness is required in court. Usually, it is not delivered to the real parties to the lawsuit. Similar to citations and summonses, a subpoena to testify will specify the venue, the day, and the hour of the witness’s appearance.
There are a number of repercussions if the subpoena’s directions are not followed. You can face criminal or civil contempt of court charges. You can be found in contempt of court if you disregard a judge’s orders. Additionally, you may have to pay fines or go to jail. These sanctions may be applied to witnesses who were simply called to testify and did not participate in any other offenses.
Whatever your motivation for coming to court, you should adhere to some fundamental principles. Being present in court is a significant obligation. You ought to behave appropriately. There could be a different set of special rules for every court. There are, however, some regulations and standards that apply to all courts.
Am I Automatically Charged with Failing to Appear When I Don’t Show Up?
No. According to state law, a person who misses court cannot be prosecuted with a criminal if they turn themselves in within 30 days of missing court.
Is Failure to Appear in Court in Nevada a Felony or a Misdemeanor Charge?
The precise punishment is determined by the offense that the offender is alleged to have committed. Non-appearance in court is a misdemeanor charge in cases where someone is charged with a misdemeanor. If someone misses their court date for a gross misdemeanor criminal offense, they are guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
Regardless of the type of offense for which they are attempting to evade prosecution, failing to appear for a felony court date or leaving Nevada with the purpose of avoiding prosecution are category D felonies.
What Happens If You Don’t Show Up?
There are several potential consequences for non-appearance convictions in Nevada:
- Misdemeanor: $1,000 in fine and six months in county jail
- Regarding a category D felony: Jail sentence of one to four years and a $5,000 fine
Of course, there is always a chance that the court will decide to impose probation instead of a prison term. However, if you have already demonstrated that you may be a flight risk by failing to appear, it may be challenging to persuade the judge to give probation.
Should I Speak with an Attorney?
Yes, you should contact legal counsel. You will be charged with additional offenses in addition to the original counts if you do not submit yourself within the 30-day period following your initial court appearance.
You can fight the original charges as well as the new ones that have been brought against you because you missed your court date with the aid of a criminal defense attorney in Nevada.