You were charged with a crime and arrested. Maybe you’ve already appeared at your arraignment and been given a future court date. Maybe you haven’t had your arraignment yet and are considering not showing up. After all, your charge was minor. Before you make a bad situation worse: Stop.

Skipping any hearing in criminal court is never a good idea. Not showing up won’t change the fact that you have been arrested and charged. Not showing up will, in fact, only make your situation worse. A judge has discretion in almost every aspect of your case. If you fail to appear, the judge may use that discretion to make your life worse.

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So what can happen if you decide not to appear? Here’s a list of possibilities.

Bench Warrant

When you skip your court date, a judge can find you in contempt of court. In other words, you failed to do something the court ordered you to do. If you are found in contempt, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. If this happens, you will be taken into custody at the earliest opportunity.

Revocation of Bail Bond

If you posted bail to get out of jail, the judge can revoke your bond. Whoever co-signed for your bond will be on the hook for the payment, and the judge can revoke your right to be released again until your trial is over.

Criminal Charge

Contempt of court is a separate criminal charge that carries with it its own penalties. These penalties may be in addition to anything that is handed down to you if you are found guilty of the original crime.


When a judge sentences you, they take into account a variety of things, including your apparent remorse or lack of. Not appearing in court is a red flag waving in the judge’s face. This can lead to a harsher punishment than you would have been given otherwise.

It’s understandable if you are a bit frightened at the prospect of appearing before a judge. Not appearing, however, can make matters worse. If you have been charged with a crime in Orlando, call our office and speak with a member of our team. We will advise you of your options and help you make the best decisions for your unique situation.

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