Most people in Maryland have missed at least one appointment because a car broke down, they got sick, they had a family emergency, or they just plain forgot they were supposed to be someplace. However, when that appointment is in a Maryland court of law, the failure to appear can cause serious problems. Failure to appear in court is a predicament best addressed head on. The sooner the absence is explained, the more likely the court is to take a lenient stance. Ignoring the absence will not make the offense go away but could instead increase the severity of the consequences. So, if you have missed a court date, it is wise to consult a Maryland failure to appear lawyer as soon as possible for advice. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer could explain your options and advocate on your behalf to help reach a positive outcome.
Not everyone in Maryland realizes that not going to court when ordered to do so may constitute a separate criminal offense in addition to the underlying offense at issue in a particular case. Under Md. Code, Crim. Pro. §5-212, when someone fails to appear in court in response to a citation, the judge may issue a bench warrant for that person’s arrest. Failure to appear is treated as a misdemeanor offense under the statute. Those convicted may be fined up to $500 and imprisoned for up to 90 days. Missing a court date for jury duty is also a serious offense under Md. Code, Cts & Jud Proc §8-504. Those unable to show good cause for failure to appear may be required to pay a $1,000 fine and may be imprisoned for up to 60 days. Those who fail to appear after receiving a citation from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources may be fined $100 and have a warrant issued for their arrest. A person facing these penalties should seek the services of a failure to appear attorney right away.
When a court issues a bench warrant, in most cases, the police will not immediately set off to make the arrest. Very often the warrant remains in the system until a person is stopped for a traffic violation or some other matter brings that person to the attention of the police. A bench warrant may prevent someone from flying and could even result in their arrest at an airport. But just because people commonly ignore bench warrants hanging over their heads does not mean that it is the best course of action. It is far better to take proactive steps to deal with a bench warrant. If good cause can be demonstrated for failure to appear, the court is more likely to overlook the offense. The sooner this reasoning is presented to the court by a diligent Maryland attorney, the more credible it becomes. It may be possible to file a motion to have the bench warrant recalled and quashed. If persuasive evidence is presented, the transgression may be forgiven.
If you have missed a court date, it advisable to take prompt action to address the situation and prevent the negative consequences from increasing. A Maryland failure to appear lawyer could assist with following proper procedures to explain the reasons for the absence and help craft a persuasive explanation backed by evidence. Throughout the process, a dedicated criminal defense attorney could work to protect your rights and help to bring about the right outcome. To learn about your options for addressing a situation like this, call now for a free consultation.
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