When you are scheduled to appear in a Washington criminal court, you are expected to be there. Unfortunately, if you miss a court date you don’t always get the opportunity to make it up. Missing a scheduled court date could end in your arrest and additional criminal charges of failure to appear or bail jumping, and will result in a warrant for your arrest.
We know that things come up. Emergency situations, car trouble, and day to day living can all keep us from doing what we had planned. Perhaps something came up that kept you from court on your scheduled day.
We have handled many cases like this before and know the court will listen if there was a legitimate reason to miss your court date. As an experienced firm, we know how to bring this matter to the courts to ensure you get the best possible outcome.
Your bail is the money you put up to be released from jail pending further court dates. Your bond is the agreement you make to appear at those court dates.
Failure to Appear – Laws & Penalties
If you fail to appear, your bond will be revoked and you will be immediately subject to a warrantless arrest. This means a bail bondsmen or police officer can arrest you as soon as you are found.
Ref: RCW 9A.76.170
Bail Jumping – Laws & Penalties
If you were admitted to bail and then fail to appear for court, or fail to report to a correctional facility as directed you will be charged with bail jumping.
What your potential sentence is depends largely on the crime you were originally charged with. The more serious your original charge, the more severe your bail jumping charge will be.
|If your original charge was:||Your bail jumping charge could get you:|
|Class A felony (other than murder)||6-68 months in prison and fines of up to $20,000.|
|Class B or C felony||1-43 months in prison and fines up to $10,000.|
|Misdemeanor||Up to one year in jail and fines up to $5,000.|
Ref: RCW 9A.76.170
These potential sentences represent the extremes. More than likely for bail jumping on a Class A felony you will do more than 6 months in prison but far less than 68 months. What determines your sentence is largely the circumstances of your crime as well as your criminal history.
As your counsel it is our responsibility to ensure that your rights are protected and that you get the best possible outcome in court. This means keeping you informed of all of the steps involved in a bail jumping or failure to appear case.
We have handled many cases like this before and want to be the attorneys to work on your case.
Will I Be Caught After Failing to Appear in Court?
Some people think if they wait long enough their problems will just go away. This is not the case with criminal charges. If you missed a court date, you will be found. And if you are a wanted fugitive with an outstanding criminal warrant for missing a Washington state criminal court date, there is no statute of limitations.
New technology to track down fugitives, even for relatively minor misdemeanor charges, is being employed all the time. Police have license plate scanners connected to DOL and court databases. If you own a car, you can be stopped at any time, just by driving down the street past a police car equipped with an automatic license plate reader.
Can I Fix This Before It Gets Out of Hand?
Yes, if you haven’t been arrested for failure to appear on a warrant / bail jumping, then you still may have an opportunity to make this charge go away. We may be able to explain the missed court date, and get you back to where you started.
Your first move in a situation like should be to call an experienced attorney as soon as possible. We can advise you on the best way to handle your new charges including the decision to turn yourself in if you have not been arrested yet.
But if you wait, and are caught and arrested, much of your leverage will be gone. Proactively addressing this charge with an experienced Washington defense lawyer is the only smart move.
Call for a consultation on your Washington failure to appear / bail jumping case today.