What Happens When You Miss a Court Date in Pennsylvania?

Having to go to court can be stressful and intimidating. In some cases, it can be so nerve-racking to face a judge, jury, or prosecutor that there are some people who consider skipping a court date entirely. When you receive a summons for a specific court date, it may be tempting to skip, but you do not want to miss it. Missing your court date can result in severe consequences, even more so than when you started. 

Missing a court date may cause a judge to issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Having a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney guiding you can help alleviate some of the anxiety of having to appear in court. If you already missed your court date in Pennsylvania, consult with an experienced attorney at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg, & Gifford, P.C. to help you navigate your next steps. 

The Outcomes of Missing a Court Date in Pennsylvania 

The consequences of missing a court date in Pennsylvania are addressed in Rule 1910.13-1. Pennsylvania state law explains that if you fail to appear in court, the court may issue a bench warrant for your arrest. 

When there is a bench warrant issued for your arrest, police are then able to put you in custody and contain you for 72 hours while you wait for another hearing. Although it may be unlikely that the police will actively search for you, they will be able to arrest you if you get pulled over for a traffic violation. In some cases, the court can order bondsmen to look for you. Other consequences of missing a court date include: 

  • Forfeiting of bond 
  • Fines 
  • Suspension of driver’s license 

Missing a court date means that you have disobeyed court orders and are now in contempt of court. Depending on the judge’s discretion, it may cause severe problems in your case. 

Contacting the Court after a Missed Court Date in Pennsylvania 

Contacting the court after a missed court date can be beneficial because it can diminish consequences associated with your contempt of court. Doing so as soon as possible after a missed court date is typically your best choice. 

Being cooperative while you are at the mercy of the court’s judgment is also a great way to alleviate some of the consequences. However, pleading your case may not always work; that is why you may need the help of an experienced attorney before you contact the court. 

What If You Missed Court Due to an Emergency? 

Missing a court date due to an emergency is legitimate and can negate any consequences mentioned above. For this to happen, however, you must be proactively communicating with the court to avoid any negative repercussions. Judges often judge the legitimacy of the emergency on a case-by-case basis. Some of the most common reasons for missing an appointment are:

  • A medical emergency kept you from being able to show up to court 
  • A family member had a medical emergency 
  • A car accident kept you from being able to show up to court 

To be considered a legitimate reason by the court, the event that kept you from attending your court date must be aligned with the specific court date and time set. 

In the rare case that you did not receive a court notice to appear in court, the court will not present a bench warrant for your arrest. Nonetheless, it is still best to hire a criminal defense lawyer to navigate your unique situation. 

What to Do If You Already Missed a Court Date in Pennsylvania? 

If you missed a court date in Pennsylvania, you should consult a defense attorney to guide you with the next steps for the best possible outcome. Your defense attorney will determine how to alleviate some of the consequences. Here are some ways your defense attorney might help you: 

  • Gathering evidence to support your defense 
  • Scheduling and coordinating the next court date 
  • Evaluating and examining the issued bench warrant 
  • Determining the possible consequences of missing your court date 

When you miss a court date, it adds problems to the initial case for which you had a court date. The court will still need to address the initial issue, and you may have to defend your case on both fronts. This is why you should have the guidance of an attorney to help build a strategy regarding both cases to help avoid serious convictions. 

Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania Attorney When You Miss a Court Date in Pennsylvania 

Missing a court date can lead to more serious problems regarding your initial case. To avoid life-altering convictions, contact the knowledgeable attorneys Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. to help you avoid serious consequences.  

The legal team at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. has over 65 years of experience helping those in the Pennsylvania community and has worked to build the best outcomes for the most complex cases. For a free consultation regarding your missed court date, call (215) 822-7575 or fill out our contact form to schedule your complimentary consultation.