If you are a defendant in a criminal case you will be scheduled for a hearing. If you qualify, you may be allowed out on bail or on your own recognizance. If you are out of jail awaiting your case, you are expected to return for the hearing dates. There will likely be the need for several court appearances. In Florida, if you fail to appear to a court hearing you may face separate criminal charges. What happens will depend on many factors.

Failure to Appear

Failing to appear will be treated differently depending on whether your initial charge was a misdemeanor or a felony. In some cases, the judge will issue an immediate bench warrant. When this occurs, you may be taken into custody at any time. Many people do not realize they have a warrant until they are stopped for a traffic violation or other minor offense.


If you have missed a court appearance you may be facing a warrant. It is usually best to talk to your attorney as soon as possible to determine the best course of action to take. One option is to surrender to police. This does not mean you have to immediately head to the police station. Instead, your attorney can file a motion that lets you surrender in a courtroom rather than jail. Another choice may be to request a new court date. The request will be handled by a judge who will determine whether this will be allowed.

After a Failure to Appear

A failure to appear, also called an FTA, could bring on a number of issues. If you ignore the FTA you will likely get into more trouble which could include problems with a background check, a suspension of your driver’s license, and other penalties. For these reasons it is best to take action on the FTA. Consult with your attorney to learn your options and to make the best choice moving forward.