The potential success of your defense in an Arizona criminal matter doesn’t rely solely on your ability to provide strong evidence that you’re not guilty. Your professionalism and dedication to following the procedures of the court are important, even if you’re frustrated that you have been accused of a crime.

You should never assume that it’s safe to miss a court date without some kind of notification. While emergencies do happen, you must be prepared to explain why you missed a court date. Otherwise, it could be interpreted that you don’t take the charge—or the law—seriously enough. Hiring a Mesa criminal defense lawyer can give you some background knowledge on your responsibilities during a criminal case so that there’s no confusion on your end.

Common Reasons for Missing a Court Date

There are several reasons why you might miss a court date after being charged with a crime in Arizona. If you have a family emergency, perhaps you were planning to attend but become unable to at the last minute. If you never received a notification about the date itself, it could be argued that you were unaware you were even needed. In other cases, someone charged with a crime might be nervous about the situation and elect to skip it out of fear.

Not showing up in court could generate additional criminal charges. The incident might even spur a warrant for your arrest. This means that if you’re stopped for any other reason, you could be arrested and jailed. You should always communicate with your Mesa criminal defense lawyer about your concerns related to court hearings and dates so that you know what to expect as well as the possible penalties for missing one.

Penalties for Missing a Court Date

There are two different charges related to missing a court date. The first, outlined under A.R.S. 13-2507, has to do with failing to answer to felony charges. If you miss court related to this kind of charge, you could face another class 5 felony charge with a possible prison sentence up to 2.5 years. This is known as failure to appear in the first degree.

Failing to appear in the second degree is outlined under A.R.S. 13-2506 and refers to situations where you don’t show up for an infraction or misdemeanor charge. If you skip a related date, you could be facing a class 1 misdemeanor charge with a possible sentence in jail and a hefty fine.

In addition, you could lose driving privileges as soon as the Arizona DMV is notified of your failure to appear. Staying on top of these dates is one reason to hire a Mesa criminal defense lawyer at the outset of your case so that you are well-informed about what’s expected of you.

What If I Already Missed a Court Date?

If you have already missed a court appearance, you need to resolve the misunderstanding as soon as possible. The longer you wait to clear up the issue, the more potentially serious the consequences. Get advice from a Mesa criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible so you can rectify the issue.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please feel free to contact Mesa Criminal Attorney, Garrett L. Smith at 480-540-6021 log on to www.mycriminaldefenselawyeraz.com, or contact an attorney in your area.