Failing to appear at a required court date can set your case up for serious issues and subject you to re-arrest and other potential penalties. However, an experienced Maryland failure to appear defense attorney can help with your legal issues and fight to help you keep your freedom, challenge the case against you, and fight penalties through negotiation with the prosecution and sharp legal tactics.
For help with your failure to appear case, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras today. Our Maryland failure to appear defense attorney has decades of experience working with defendants and helping them with their charges. Call us today to set up a free legal consultation. Our number is (410) 694-7291.
What Happens During a Failure to Appear in Maryland Criminal Cases?
Failure to appear – sometimes abbreviated “FTA” – refers to when a defendant misses a required court date. Failure to appear can be avoided by showing up at all court dates and working with your attorney and the court to reschedule any court dates you might not be able to attend for reasonable circumstances. Usually, “failure to appear” cases occur while a defendant is out on bail awaiting trial, but failing to appear for probation hearings, parole hearings, and other court dates can also cause serious issues.
When you are out on bail, you will usually have various requirements placed on you. Even if you have ROR bail (release on your own recognizance), the court will still require you to appear at your next scheduled court date. If you are under more strict bail terms, you might need to check in with an officer, undergo drug tests, and follow other requirements – but you will also have to appear at future court dates.
If you fail to appear, your bail can be revoked or modified. Failing to appear can mean losing your chance to stay free while your case is pending and instead spending that time in jail. You could also forfeit any bail money you already paid. Then, you will need the help of an experienced bail attorney to convince the court to restore your bail and let you stay out of jail.
When deciding bail, the court will look at many factors, one of which is previous failure to appear issues. So, it is important to address any failure to appear issues not only to help with the case at hand, but also to help with any potential future cases as well.
Failure to Appear Bench Warrants in Maryland
If you do fail to appear in court, the judge might issue a bench warrant. Not every FTA case needs to result in a bench warrant, but judges often do not hesitate to issue bench warrants when defendants miss court dates.
If there is a bench warrant out for you for a failure to appear, you could be arrested and sent to jail so that the police can return you to court. This means that any interaction you have with police – including getting pulled over for a traffic ticket – could result in your arrest.
If you are arrested on a bench warrant for FTA, you will need a lawyer to negotiate bail. Police and judges generally will not release you on bail again after you have already failed to appear once without further guarantee that you will appear at future court dates. That means that bail could be increased, forcing you to pay to get out of jail. In many cases, this makes bail too expensive, and you could need the help of a lawyer to negotiate bail down to an affordable amount.
If a bench warrant is issued and you have not yet been arrested, a lawyer might be able to help cancel the bench warrant. This could allow you to reschedule a new court date and appear without the risk of arrest. However, you will need the judge to agree to drop the warrant, which your attorney can arrange.
Fighting Criminal Charges After a Failure to Appear in Maryland Courts
After failing to appear and being brought back to court, you will still have pending criminal charges to address. Our Maryland criminal defense lawyers can help you deal with the failure to appear issues, but we can also help you fight the upcoming charges. In many cases, negotiating plea agreements quickly with the prosecution can help end your case and allow you to start serving your penalties instead of dealing with further issues of bail and trials. If we can beat the charges against you, it is important to work with a lawyer to make sure you hit each and every upcoming court date to avoid further delays and keep your case in good light at the courthouse.
Sentencing After Failure to Appear
If your failure to appear involved probation or parole instead of bail, then your re-arrest could mean facing sentencing again. In these cases, you could be returned to jail or prison to serve a suspended sentence. In some cases, we can help file for resentencing to help avoid the full brunt of these penalties.
If your failure to appear was from a pretrial bail situation, then that FTA on record in this case could be used as a factor in sentencing if you are convicted. Judges often look at the defendant’s cooperation with the criminal justice process as a factor in how they will sentence the defendant, and failure to appear is not seen as good cooperation. It is important to have a lawyer represent you at sentencing to fight for lower penalties and probation instead of the long-term jail and prison sentences you might face.
Call Our Maryland Lawyers for Failure to Appear (FTA)
If you were accused of failing to appear in court, call a lawyer right away. A failure to appear can result in bench warrants, re-arrest, jail time, increased penalties, harder sentencing hearings, and other serious disadvantages – even for future criminal cases. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras for help with your failure to appear case today. Our Maryland failure to appear defense attorney is available for free legal consultations. Call us at (410) 694-7291.