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Failing to show up to court when ordered to do so is a serious matter that can have long-lasting repercussions. You may have had a valid reason for missing or failed to appear by accident. However, any delays in explaining the situation to the court and cooperating with ensuing orders could lead to steep fines and even incarceration.
Your first step in this situation should be to contact an experienced attorney. A Glendale failure to appear lawyer can explain the situation and clear up any misunderstandings to help you avoid overly harsh consequences. The team at Grand Canyon Law Group knows how to handle these delicate situations, and we are here to stand by your side throughout the legal proceedings.
There are two levels, or “degrees,” of failure to appear as a criminal offense defined under state law. Arizona Revised Statutes §13-2506 defines second-degree failure to appear as someone knowingly failing to follow a verbal or written court order to appear before a judge regarding any petty or misdemeanor offense. Failing to appear for a felony is a first-degree offense under A.R.S. §13-2507.
Second-degree failure to appear can be a Class 2 misdemeanor or a Class 1 misdemeanor, depending on whether it involves failing to appear pursuant to a written notice or written promise to appear, or whether it involves failing to appear specifically in response to a criminal charge. Based on the application classification, the maximum sanctions a conviction may lead to include either four or six months in jail plus a $2,500 fine.
First-degree failure to appear, on the other hand, is a Class 5 non-dangerous felony offense, which means a first-time offender could face between six and 30 months of imprisonment upon conviction depending on the presence of mitigating or aggravating factors. Additionally, subsequent convictions for this same offense or any other felony would allow for increasingly lengthy prison terms. The failure to appear attorneys at our Glendale office can work to avoid these severe outcomes.
Importantly, a person only commits the criminal offense of failure to appear under Arizona state law if they knowingly miss a court date or similar obligation. In other words, if someone was earnestly unaware that they had been summoned to appear in court because they were never formally notified by any state authority, they cannot be convicted on failure to appear charges.
A person may also inadvertently miss a court date as opposed to intentionally—for example, because they overslept, got in a car crash, or had a serious medical emergency. In these scenarios, they may be able to avoid harsh sanctions if they present themselves to the court as soon as possible afterwards and explain the situation. The seasoned lawyers at our firm can help provide an adequate explanation of the scenario after a failure to appear in court.
In some situations, not appearing in court can result in harsher criminal sanctions than the original charge you were meant to appear for. Any penalties associated with a failure to appear conviction would be added onto penalties for the underlying charge.
If you missed a court date, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to help clear up the situation. A Glendale failure to appear lawyer at the Grand Canyon Law Group is here to help handle the situation efficiently and mitigate the potential penalties you face. Call us today to discuss your situation and get the legal help you need.