Failure to appear in court for a scheduled court date is a serious violation that can result in serious consequences for California drivers. When you sign a traffic ticket that is issued to you by an officer, you are agreeing to appear in court for an arraignment. If you do not take action before your scheduled court date and then you fail to appear, the judge can find you in contempt of court.
Even if you had every intention of showing up, but an honest mistake, such as no transportation, made you miss your court date, the law will still hold you accountable if you are scheduled to appear in court and then fail to do so. This gives the court the right to issue a warrant for your arrest. If this happens, any law enforcement agency can arrest you on sight and bring you to court.
In California, failure to appear (FTA) consequences includes a $300 Civil Assessment fee in addition to the original traffic fine. You will also likely face a suspension of your driver’s license. Above all, your failure to appear can make you appear guilty of whatever charge originated the court summons in the first place, and this could make it subsequently harder to fight that charge.
FTA may also be considered a misdemeanor, a charge that will be added to your original traffic charge. If you are caught and arrested based on the warrant, the judge may either release you with a warning, or incarcerate you based on your record, the circumstances that led to the warrant, and your risk of flight. It is much better not to allow this to happen. Instead, contact a knowledgeable attorney who may be able to clear your FTA sentence, and appear in your place in court (since these cases can take multiple days to be resolved, which can be a strain on work and personal time).
Our traffic attorneys are essential in failure-to-appear situations because they understand the law and its ramifications. As legal experts, we possess the experience you need on your side and will work to help you come out in the best position possible.