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Whether intentional or accidental, failing to obey a court order to appear for a trial or hearing can have severe repercussions in Arizona. The consequences can be even greater than those associated with the original charges. On top of that, a conviction for failing to appear can potentially count as a prior conviction for future sentencing once the original trial concludes. This means you could be bumped into a more severe sentencing range than you otherwise would have been subject to.
Charges of this nature become more difficult to resolve the longer you wait to address them, so contacting a New River failure to appear lawyer should be your top priority. If you miss a court date, the diligent defense attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group can advocate on your behalf and work to mitigate the long-term repercussions. We believe you have a way of life worth protecting, so give us a call today to discuss your situation.
Individuals who fail to appear for proceedings related to misdemeanor charges or petty offenses—crimes with only fines and no jail time attached—may be charged with second-degree failure to appear as per Arizona Revised Statutes §13-2506. If the failure to appear violated a written notice to appear signed by the defendant after their arresting law enforcement officer provided it to them upon their immediate release, this offense is a class 2 misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $750 fine and four-month jail term. Otherwise, as a New River attorney can explain, failure to appear is a class 1 misdemeanor that could result in a $2,500 maximum fine and up to a year of jail time.
On the other hand, failure to comply with a court order to appear for any proceeding related to a felony charge is a class 5 felony under A.R.S. §13-2507, which addresses failure to appear in the first degree. Depending on certain mitigating or aggravating circumstances, a conviction for this offense may be punished by between six and 30 months of imprisonment, with higher sentencing ranges applicable for defendants with prior felony convictions.
Notably, Arizona defines failure to appear for a court date as a criminal offense only in situations where the defendant knew they were obligated to appear in court and intentionally failed to do so. That said, a person who misses a court date because of an unforeseeable problem like a car crash may still be charged with and convicted of a crime if they do not work with a nearby lawyer to file a motion to “quash” the bench warrant.
If a court approves this motion, the judge can have the warrant canceled out, which effectively equates to a dismissal of the related criminal charges. However, this becomes substantially harder to accomplish after being arrested for failure to appear regardless of the reason for the person’s absence. It is always vital to seek help from legal counsel and explain the situation to the court as quickly as possible after missing a hearing or trial proceeding.
While it is possible to get failure to appear charges nullified if you had a valid and unavoidable reason for missing your court date, it is essential to get the process started as soon as possible. Waiting too long could lead to you facing severe criminal penalties, potentially including additional felony charges on your record.
A New River failure to appear lawyer will be your dedicated ally from beginning to end of your unique case. Call Grand Canyon Law Group today for a consultation.