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Failure to Appear

Failing to appear to a scheduled court date might seem minor, but it actually is considered a crime. Florida law states missing a court date after posting bond, receiving a notice to appear, bench warrant, or being released on their own recognizance (ROR) is enough grounds for a law enforcement officer to arrest you. You will then not only be required to handle the original issue or charges you were facing earlier, but also additional failure to appear charges.

Although most cases of failure to appear are simply misunderstandings, the Florida court still aggressively prosecutes those who fail to appear to their court dates. The purpose of this is to deter people in the judiciary system from becoming a flight risk. If you or someone you know has been accused of failing to appear at their court dates, then it’s imperative you seek experienced criminal defense representation

Defense Attorney for Failure to Appear in Broward County, FL

If you have an outstanding warrant, then contact the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We can help you determine the best way to resolve the warrant and fight the underlying charges. We represent clients throughout the greater Broward County area such as Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Davie, Pembroke Pines and Hollywood.

Contact the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell at [photo] to set up your first consultation free. We represent clients on warrants after a failure to appear in court. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell can file a motion to set aside the failure to appear warrant so that a new court date can be set. We are experienced in filing and litigating motions to set aside a bench warrant in the courtrooms in Ft. Lauderdale and the surrounding areas in Broward County, FL.

Overview of Failing to Appear in Florida Court


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Florida Elements for Charges of Failing to Appear in Court

Not giving notice as to why you can’t appear to a court date in certain situations is a crime. Even if the missed date was nothing more than miscommunication or the offender simply forgetting. Florida Jury Instructions Chapter 29.18 states the prosecutor must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a person of failing to appear in court.

  • The offender was released from custody according to Florida’s bail laws;
  • They were released in connection to a felony charge, misdemeanor charge, while waiting for sentencing or pending review by certiorari after conviction of an offense;
  • After their release the offender willfully (which is defined as intentionally, knowingly or purposefully) failed to appear before a court or judicial officer

It’s important to understand that failing to appear to a court date is automatic grounds for law enforcement to take you to jail. For example, you can be arrested even while you’re working or at school for a court date that slipped your mind. The warrant for your arrest will never go away after your missed court date, however. So, it’s best to resolve the warrant and face your failure to appear charges rather than avoid authorities. The longer you wait it out the worse your consequences for missing your court date will be.


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What are the Penalties for Failure to Appear in Florida?

Florida has implemented serious penalties for those who fail to appear in court to discourage flight risks. However, most failure to appear cases are due to extenuating circumstances such as a medical emergency or an automobile accident. Although these can be used as admissible defenses, it’s highly recommended you secure legal representation to ensure you have the best possible legal counsel before stepping food in a courtroom.

If you failed to appear to a court date related to a misdemeanor charge, then you will face a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for a first-degree misdemeanor include:

  • Up to 12 months in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $1,000

If you failed to appear to a court date for any of the following, you will be charged with a third-degree felony as a result.

  • You were arrested for a felony charge;
  • Failed to appear while awaiting your sentence;
  • Failed to appear while your sentence is pending review by certiorari after a conviction for any offense

The maximum penalties for a third-degree felony include the following:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $5,000

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Additional Resources

Find Warrants Information in Florida – Visit the official website of the Florida Crime Information Center, a Public Access System (PAS), provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to learn if there is currently a warrant in your name. You can search by name, race, sex, and date of birth of any person for outstanding warrants. If you find information about a warrant, you should then confirm that the warrant exist with the local law enforcement agency or with the reporting agency in the appropriate manner.

Failure to Appear Warrant in Florida – Visit the website of the Florida State Legislature to find Statutes under Title XLVII for Criminal Procedure and Corrections under Chapter 901 for arrests. Read more about the issuance of an arrest warrant, the execution of a warrant, how summons are issued and served, when an arrest by an officer without warrant is lawful, when a notice to appear by an officer without a warrant is lawful, and the detention of foreign nationals.


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Fort Lauderdale Attorney for Failure to Appear in Florida

If you have an outstanding failure to warrant in Fort Lauderdale, FL, or the surrounding areas in Broward County, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell. Our attorneys for warrants can help you resolve the underlying case while fighting for the best possible result.

Our attorneys represent clients on all types of warrants including an arrest warrant, a failure to appear warrant, an out of state fugitive / extradition warrant, and out of county transport orders. Call us now at (754) 755-8554 to set up your first consultation free. We practice throughout the greater Broward County area including Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs and Hollywood.


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