Missed court date attorney Stephen P. Shepard of Shepard Law in Baltimore County, MD

What Happens if I Miss My Court Date in Maryland?

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Baltimore County, MD, you know how stressful the legal process can be. From the arrest to posting bail to searching for the right defense attorney, it’s an intimidating experience. One of the most important things you must do is show up for all of your scheduled court dates. Missing a court appearance can have severe consequences – consequences you absolutely want to avoid.

At Shepard Law, our award-winning criminal defense attorney in Towson frequently works with clients who have missed court dates, whether due to an emergency, miscommunication, or simply forgetting. We understand that missing court is not always intentional. However, the court takes this matter extremely seriously. Let’s take a look at what could happen if you don’t appear for your scheduled court date in Maryland.

Possible Consequences for Missing Your Court Date

The Judge May Issue a Bench Warrant for Your Arrest

One of the most common repercussions of missing court is that the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. This is a written order from the court authorizing law enforcement to detain you and bring you before the judge to explain why you were absent.

If the police locate you pursuant to the bench warrant, they will take you into custody and bring you before the court, often immediately or the next business day. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to post additional bail or be held until your next court date.

The Judge Could Revoke Your Bail or Pre-Trial Release

If you were previously released on bail or pre-trial release conditions pending trial, the judge has the authority to revoke that status if you do not appear for court as required. This means you would be taken into custody and held at the detention center until your case is resolved.

Even if you posted a large bond initially, the judge could increase your bail amount or impose additional release conditions that make it harder for you to get out of jail while your case is pending.

You Could Be Held in Contempt of Court

Missing your court date shows disrespect for the court’s authority and judicial process. As a result, the judge may find you in contempt of court, which is a criminal charge punishable by fines or jail time.

Additional Criminal Charges Are Possible

Depending on the circumstances, you could face additional criminal charges for failure to appear in court as required. For example it is a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to 3 years in jail and a $5,000 fine if you willfully failed to appear for a court date after being properly notified. This charge could be added to your existing case.

If you actually attempted to flee while out on bail or pre-trial release, more serious felony criminal charges could apply for escape, bail revocation, etc.

Your Driver’s License Could Be Suspended

In some cases, the court may suspend your privilege to drive and you would no longer have a valid driver’s license.   

What Should I Do if I Missed My Court Date?

If you have already missed a criminal court date in Baltimore County, the most important thing is to act quickly and seek legal counsel. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help mitigate the damage by:

  • Filing an appropriate motion with the court to recall or quash the bench warrant
  • Explaining the circumstances around your absence to the court
  • Working to avoid a contempt charge
  • Potentially keeping you released on bail/pre-trial release
  • Coordinating your surrender if all other efforts fail

At Shepard Law, we understand that life circumstances inevitably arise that can cause someone to miss court. Our criminal defense attorney will fight aggressively in court to protect your rights and avoid the harshest penalties for failure to appear.

Don’t panic if you’ve missed court – but act quickly. The clock is ticking and proactive legal representation is critical.

If you or a loved one missed a criminal court date in Maryland, don’t wait another day. Contact Shepard Law in Towson, Maryland today to schedule a confidential, free consultation with an award-winning criminal defense attorney.

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