What Happens if You Miss a Court Date for DUI
You should plan to appear in court on the day of your hearing for an Arizona DUI charge. However, if you did miss your court date, you should consult with an attorney. Additionally, here’s what you can expect if you happened to miss your hearing.
Missing a court date for criminal charges, such as a DUI, is a crime. This means that if you missed your court date, you can face additional criminal charges. A judge can issue a warrant for your arrest.
When you miss your court date, law enforcement will be looking for you. If you use a bondsman to make bail, you’ll also have a bondsman looking for you. That’s because you won’t get your bail money back and will be indebted to that bondsman for money you borrowed to make bond.
Being arrested under a bench warrant means you’ll be returned to jail. You will not have another opportunity to receive a bail bond, which means you’ll remain in jail until your new court date.
Understanding Arizona bench warrants for DUIs
There are two degrees of bench warrants for DUIs in Arizona – first degree and second degree.
A first degree is a class five felony. It means you could face up to 18 months of jail time but certainly no less than six months of incarceration. The lesser sentencing is allowable when there are extenuating circumstances for why you missed your hearing.
If this isn’t your first felony on record, you’re more likely to face a more serious sentencing for this first degree bench warrant. Your criminal record as a whole will be taken into account when determining your sentencing.
Second degree bench warrants are issued in cases where the charges against you are much less severe. In second degree bench warrants, you may or may not be required to serve jail time while you await a new hearing date.
A judge may simply order you to commit to being at your new court date once arrested under a second degree warrant. However, your previous record will still be taken into account when evaluating sentencing for a second degree warrant. This means that if you’ve had another misdemeanor within the last two years you could face more severe penalties for failing to appear in court.
How to defend not appearing in court
There might be cases where you cannot make an appearance in court after it has been scheduled. In these cases, you can notify the courts ahead of time that you won’t be there. If you had provided this notification, you have the right to set a new court date without penalty. Your attorney can notify the right person or file the correct paperwork to properly notify the courts.
In other cases, you might unexpectedly become ill or experience an accident. These are other reasons you might miss your court date without repercussions, which you can provide a defense for. A doctor’s note or accident report can prove what happened and provide a strong defense for failure to appear in court.
Regardless for your reason for missing your court date you must file a motion of your defense for missing your court date. This can end the bench warrant for your arrest if that has been issued. You should not delay in making this motion though because it can add to the appearance of guilt.
Hiring an Arizona DUI attorney
If you’ve missed the hearing for your DUI case, it’s even more imperative that you hire a good Arizona DUI attorney. An attorney can come in and help you at any point in your DUI defense to help you decrease or even eliminate your sentencing.
Click here for information on what happens when you fail a field sobriety test in Arizona?