What Happens if You Fail to Appear in Court in Louisiana?
If you find yourself arrested in Louisiana, the judge might set bail and have you post a bond that ensures you shall appear in court after being released.
When you fail to appear in court, even after receiving proper notice of the court date, it can mean serious consequences both for your freedom as well as your case. You can be charged with failure to appear or Jumping Bail.
In addition to whatever you were charged with before, this will count as a completely new charge. If the underlying offense is a felony, then this new charge will be a felony as well; if you were charged with a misdemeanor, then this new charge will be counted as a misdemeanor. You can be punished with imprisonment of up to 2 years.
When a Bench Warrant gets issued…
Once you fail to appear in court, the judge who’s ordering your arrest issues a bench warrant. It means you can be picked up in any state and detained. This can be a huge problem because you could be stuck in jail in some other state waiting out for Louisiana to pick you up if the state even does. You could be burning time in a prison in another state for up to a month, even if the underlying charge was something as minor as a traffic stop - all because a bench warrant was issued in your name.
When the Bond gets revoked…
What if you don’t show up in court within 6 months? Your bond could very well be revoked, and you would be required to post a new bond which would mean new expenses.
When it affects your underlying case…
Your problems don’t end with a bench warrant and a bond revocation. It also hurts your underlying case. The judge might not want to give you probation if you were forced back into court. It’s natural for the judge to worry that you could abscond again and not do your probation.
What if no Bond was posted?
If you did not post a bond, then it’s a different story altogether. On failing to appear for a misdemeanor offense, the officer can issue you a summons to appear. That means you are not formally arrested and booked, requiring a bond to get out of prison. If you don’t appear in court on a misdemeanor in this state, you could be charged with Contempt by the judge, be ordered a fine of up to $500, and be jailed for up to 6 months.
It goes without saying that it’s a very bad idea to not show up in court if you had promised to do so by posting a bond. But, if for any reason, you are not able to do so, you must hire an experienced attorney who specializes in criminal law and Louisiana laws.
This is to ensure you don’t end up hurting your case or be held up in contempt by the judge.
Contact Us Today
Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case. The first consultation can be in person or it can be virtual, on the Internet. Call Gaynell Williams today at (504) 302-2462 for a free consultation as soon as possible. We will work around your schedule. New Orleans lawyers Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law have offices in Gretna and Downtown New Orleans by appointment only.
This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may affect your legal rights.
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