What happens if I don’t show up for court?  I was given notice of what date to appear when I bonded out of the jail.  Now I can’t find that paper and I can’t remember when my court date was.  It may have already passed.”

-Question submitted by “James” in Centerton.

If you don’t show up for court when you are supposed to the judge will most likely note on the record that you failed to appear.  He/she will order a bench warrant be issued for your arrest.  In Arkansas, failure to appear in circuit court (or felony court) is a class C felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The first thing you should do is hire a good lawyer.  Your lawyer can contact the court and find out if you have really missed a court date.  If you have missed your date but not too much time has elapsed your attorney may be able to get your warrant pulled back and get you back on the docket.  If it has been a while and your warrant is active your options will be more limited.  Your attorney may be able to get the warrant quashed by order of the court.  Every case is different and the circumstances will dictate whether or not this is possible.  You may have to turn yourself in on the warrant and post a new bond on the new charge, or be cited to a new court date on the new FTA charge.

Good Luck.

-Drew Ledbetter

Disclaimer:  Drew Ledbetter is a criminal defense lawyer practicing in Fayetteville, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and the surrounding Northwest Arkansas communities.  This answer is made available by Drew Ledbetter for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney with whom you have an attorney client relationship along with all the privileges that relationship provides. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question.