Columbia Failure to Appear Lawyer

Any time a South Carolina court orders someone to appear before it, that order comes with the full force of state law behind it. That means that you could face substantial procedural penalties and criminal consequences even worse than those associated with your original offense if you do not appear for your scheduled court date for any reason. Failing to appear in court is a violation of the law, no matter whether you intentionally fail to show up, had a personal emergency to deal with, or earnestly forgot about your obligation.

Time is always of the essence when it comes to avoiding serious repercussions for a failure to appear, as any experienced criminal defense attorney knows all too well. If you have missed a court date or believe you will have to miss one due to unforeseen circumstances, contacting a Columbia failure to appear lawyer should be your absolute top priority.

What Could Happen After a Failure to Appear?

Depending on exactly why someone misses their court date and how communicative they are with court authorities beforehand, there are a few different outcomes that failing to appear could have. A Columbia failure to appear attorney could offer much-needed clarification about what might happen in a particular defendant’s unique situation.

In the best-case scenario, a person who has a legitimate excuse for failing to appear in court—such as emergency hospitalization or a family crisis—may be able to get their court date rescheduled by explaining their situation to the judge with assistance from their legal counsel. If someone fails to appear for a minor offense like a traffic violation or certain types of misdemeanors, they may simply be found guilty for that offense without being provided any second chance to defend themselves, but also without facing any additional penalties for not obeying a court order.

More commonly, though, a failure to appear before a court for a serious criminal charge will lead to the judge issuing a bench warrant for the absent defendant’s arrest. Finally, someone who fails to appear in court after being released on bail may face different penalties under South Carolina Code of Laws §17-15-90, depending on whether their original offense was a misdemeanor or a felony. Failure to appear in a misdemeanor case can result in up to one year of imprisonment and a $1,000 maximum fine, while felony cases carry maximum penalties of five years behind bars and $5,000 in fines.

Resolving a Bench Warrant in Columbia

It is absolutely crucial for anyone who fails to appear for a court date in Columbia to get in touch with their lawyer as soon as feasibly possible. As knowledgeable legal counsel could affirm, waiting even a few days after an unapproved absence from court can remove any possibility that their offense might be forgiven.

With help from skilled legal representation and a valid excuse for failing to appear, or at the very least a clear case illustrating that the failure to appear was not intentional, a defendant facing this kind of charge could possibly prevent a bench warrant from being issued in the first place or have a previously closed case reopened. Otherwise, the only option may be for a defendant’s attorney to motion for the bench warrant to be lifted if the defendant appears for the hearing related to that motion without being arrested and detained beforehand.

Seek Help from a Columbia Failure to Appear Attorney Immediately

The South Carolina court system takes missed court dates very seriously, and you may face significant criminal consequences even if your failure to appear is entirely accidental. Fortunately, support from a skilled legal professional could go a long way towards preserving your rights and interests in an unfortunate situation like this.

Working with a knowledgeable Columbia failure to appear lawyer could be all but essential to avoiding life-altering repercussions for failing to follow a court order. Reach out to our office today to learn more.