What happens if I fail to appear on my court date in NJ?

warrant issued

After someone is arrested in New Jersey, the police will take them to the police station to be processed. At this point, the person is either released or detained pending a detention hearing. If you are “released on your own recognizance” (also called “ROR”) after charges are filed, you will be required to appear in either the Municipal or Superior Court for your next court hearing. This is also true if a judge releases you after a detention hearing. What is important to remember is that even if you are released, you are expected to appear in court on the date scheduled. The State is trusting that you will show up in court to face the charges against you. In fact, you are required by law to do so. If you fail to appear on your court date in New Jersey, a warrant will likely be issued for your arrest and you may face additional criminal charges with associated penalties.

Contact the experienced Union County criminal defense lawyers at William Proetta Criminal Law for a free consultation about your failure to appear in court situation, and keep reading for more information. We can be reached anytime at  908-838-0150.

The procedures regarding failure to appear in court are contained in New Jersey Court Rule 7:8-9: Trial.  According to these rules, if a defendant fails to appear in court for a criminal matter, the judge may issue a bench warrant. A bench warrant is a type of arrest warrant that is somewhat less serious than a regular warrant, which means that police might not go directly to the person’s front door looking for them. The bench warrant often means that the person’s name goes into a database and then, if that person gets involved with law enforcement again, the warrant would pop up for those officers, such as potentially during a traffic stop or some other interaction. Even though a bench warrant may be slightly less serious than other arrest warrants, the police can re-arrest you if they find an outstanding warrant for your arrest.

If the original criminal offense was more serious, police will try harder to find a person and arrest them. In fact, when a person fails to appear in Superior Court to face felony charges, they may be taken into custody and detained until their case is resolved.

Failure to appear in court can also lead to criminal charges for Bail Jumping; Default in Required Appearance, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-7. You can be charged with this offense for violating any condition of your release, even if monetary bail was not ordered. The degree of a bail jumping charge varies based on the original charges against you. If you have been charged with a first degree, second degree, or third degree crime, bail jumping is considered a third degree crime and may result in up to 5 years in NJ State Prison. In all other circumstances, the degree of a charge for 2C:29-7 will mirror that of the original crime. In other words, missing court for a fourth degree crime may result in another fourth degree felony charge.

In addition to issuing a bench warrant, the court can also suspend your driver’s license if you miss your court date. If your license has been suspended, and you are found driving in New Jersey, you may be charged with another offense for driving with a suspended license.

Failure to Appear in Court Lawyers in Elizabeth, NJ

Obviously, failing to appear in court can cause an entirely new set of problems, on top of the original criminal charges you face. If you or someone you love is facing a warrant for their arrest for failure to appear at a court date in Union County, New Jersey, it is imperative to resolve this matter as soon as possible. The seasoned criminal defense lawyers at William Proetta Criminal Law assist clients with outstanding warrants and criminal charges in Cranford, Elizabeth, Plainfield, Linden, Clark, Kenilworth, and throughout the Union County area. Call 908-838-0150 or contact us online to speak with an attorney who can assist you. Consultations are always provided free of charge.

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.