If you have failed to appear for an assigned court date to answer to misdemeanor charges in Florida, you can expect a warrant to be issued for your arrest. Retaining an attorney is your best option because they can file a motion for the sitting judge to withdraw your failure to appear (FTA) warrant.

What many people do not realize is that if you fail to appear in court in Florida, the prosecutor can press additional charges. Not only will you have to answer for your original charge, but you will also be answering for a separate first-degree misdemeanor if you fail to appear on any misdemeanor charge, regardless of its degree.

If you are found to have willfully failed to appear in court, you may face one or more consequences. If you know that you missed a court date, you have several options to pursue. You may turn yourself in at the court of record, you can hire an attorney to file a motion to withdraw the warrant, or you can hire an attorney to help you surrender yourself.

If you choose to remain on a failure to appear status, you face several consequences:

  • You are ineligible to collect government benefits.
  • You may have your driver’s license suspended until you turn yourself in.
  • You will have difficulty finding employment when necessary.
  • You will find it difficult to secure housing if you are looking for it.
  • Any security that was given for your original bond will be forfeited.
  • You will face an additional criminal charge.
  • You may be found in contempt and face court-imposed penalties, including jail time.

Many county websites outline what may happen if you fail to appear. Hillsborough County is such a website that includes a statement in its FAQ section that reads:

“Failure to appear may result in serious consequence. A felony judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. You may forfeit any bond that you have posted, thus losing money or collateral. If you are arrested for failure to appear you may be held in Hillsborough County Jail without bond.”

It is also important to understand that a failure to appear charge will be on your criminal record. Should you be arrested in the future, a judge may refuse to grant you bail based upon your past history.

If you have been arrested for a crime or you have failed to appear for a court date, we are here for you. Contact our offices today so we can begin the process of representing you. Initial consultations are free. Call now.

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