Failure to Appear in Court Lawyer in Toms River, NJ
If you are considering skipping a court date in New Jersey, think again before subjecting yourself to having a warrant for your arrest issued, suspension of your driver’s license, and/or being detained while you wait for your trial. While it can be intimidating to go to court, particularly when you are accused of committing a crime, the best way to alleviate your concerns is to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney who can attempt to have the charges against you downgraded or dismissed, argue for the exclusion of improperly obtained evidence against you, and present your best defenses at trial. If you have already failed to appear in court, the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Proetta & Oliver can help. Our attorneys assist clients who fail to appear in Point Pleasant, Seaside Heights, Lavallette, Manchester, Lacey Township, Toms River, and throughout Ocean County. For additional information about what we can do to get your case back on track and successfully resolve it, call (848) 238-2100 for a free consultation.
What Happens if I Miss a Court Date?
New Jersey Court Rule 7:8-9 requires a defendant to appear for all scheduled court dates, unless your appearance is expressly waived by the judge. This includes your first appearance, pre-trial conferences, and your trial and sentencing dates.
If you are scheduled to appear in a New Jersey court after being charged with a motor vehicle violation or a criminal offense, failure to appear in court as scheduled could result in a warrant for your arrest. This means that if you have already been released with or without conditions, the prosecution may file a new motion for detention. Under New Jersey’s pre-trial detention system, failure to appear at your previous court date will count against you when the judge determines whether any condition or set of conditions will reasonably assure that you will not fail to appear at a future court date. If you have already failed to appear in the past, it is more probable the judge will decide that you are likely to fail to appear again and order you to be detained while you await your trial.
The court may also order your driver’s license to be suspended if you fail to appear in court, even for a municipal court case. The New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles will then suspend your license until your case is resolved or until you pay the monetary sanction amount dictated by the court and are scheduled for a new court date. Sometimes, a person isn’t even aware that their license has been suspended or there is a warrant for their arrest until they have another interaction with police, for example, during a traffic stop.
Failed to Appear in Court in Ocean County, New Jersey
While you might feel that you have a good reason to miss your court date, the judge is very likely to disagree. There are almost no acceptable excuses for failing to appear for a court date, with the exception of a very serious emergency that made it physically impossible for you to appear like a natural disaster, physical incapacitation, or hospitalization. Even in those circumstances, whether your reason for failing to appear was legitimate will be up to the discretion of the judge.
Claiming that you forgot about your court date, you got sick, your car broke down, you did not have enough money for bus fare, or you moved and did not receive a notice of your court date are all unacceptable excuses. If criminal charges are filed against you and you are released with conditions or on your own recognizance, you must inform the court if you move.
Of course, sometimes mistakes happen. The best thing you can do is get in touch with the court right away and move forward with your case, preferrably with the help of an experienced attorney. There are serious consequences for missing a court date in New Jersey so the wise approach at this point is to contact a lawyer. Our Ocean County criminal defense lawyers appear in Municipal Courts and Ocean County Superior Court on a weekly basis and we can help you effectively deal with the charges you’re facing. Don’t waste time worrying, contact our Point Pleasant office today at (848) 238-2100 to find out more about your legal options.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. All major credit cards are accepted.