New Haven Failure to Appear Lawyer
Failure to appear occurs when someone misses a court date or hearing for which their presence is required by law or court order. There are two types of failure to appear charges: first degree, which is a felony, and second degree, which is a misdemeanor.
Which degree of failure to appear a person is charged with depends on the seriousness of the underlying offense. Typically, failing to appear on a misdemeanor charge would be a misdemeanor, and failing to appear for a felony charge would be a felony, under Connecticut Statute 53a-172-173.
If a person has been accused of failure to appear in court, they will need the assistance of a New Haven criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Failure to appear is a more serious offense than some people realize, which is why it is so important to get in contact with a New Haven failure to appear lawyer right away.
Why People Do It
There are numerous reasons why people fail to make required appearances before the court. While technically the reason for a failure to appear does not matter and people can be found guilty of failure to appear regardless of the excuse, a New Haven failure to appear attorney can explain why someone was unable to appear and ask the judge to take the circumstances of their absence into account. Some of the most common reasons for failing to appear include:
- Being unaware of the required appearance or court date;
- Not having legal counsel;
- Lacking transportation or child care;
- Not being able to take time off work;
- Illness and disability;
- Being out of town or no longer living in the jurisdiction;
- Simply being nervous about the court case.
A failure to appear charge can follow a person for years since there is no statute of limitations on this offense. Even if a person has never been arrested and has very old warrants, it is a good idea to get them taken care of. Otherwise, even a simple traffic stop is likely to end in an arrest.
A second-degree failure to appear conviction is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and $2,000 in fines. A first-degree failure to appear conviction is considered a Class D felony carrying a penalty of between one and five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Consulting with an Attorney
No matter why a person missed their court date, it is important to begin working with an experienced failure to appear lawyer in New Haven who handles failure to appear charges right away, since the sooner the defense lets the court know they are trying to make things right, the better. An attorney can explain the circumstances of the failure to appear and show that the person wants to take responsibility for their mistake or misunderstanding and move forward.
A New Haven failure to appear lawyer can also use their experience in previous cases and knowledge of New Haven laws and courts to build the strongest defense possible and to combat the potential penalties that the person is facing.