Have you ever wondered what would happen if you skipped court? The answer is nothing good. Whether it’s for a small traffic offense or a minor criminal charge, you cannot ignore a summons once it has been issued.
Depending on the charges against you, you may have to appear before court several times: for the arraignment, pre-trial conference, hearing, trial, sentencing, and various other judicial proceedings. Make sure you’re there every time. If you do not appear when ordered, then you may turn a minor problem into a major problem.
In today’s post, the bail bond agents at Affordable Bail Bonds are going over everything you need to know about what could happen if you miss your court date. Read on to learn more, and if you or a loved one need to post bail in Wagoner County or elsewhere in Oklahoma, you can contact us 24/7 for expert bail bonds services today!
1. Criminal Charges
If you do not appear at court when ordered, the judge can charge you with one or both of the following crimes in addition to the crime for which you were being summoned.
Failure to Appear
According to Oklahoma state law, anyone who willfully fails to appear in court (whether you posted bail on your own, with the help of a bail bondsman, or were released on personal recognizance without having to post bail) is guilty of a felony punishable by up to $5,000 and two years in prison.
(If you have already missed your court date, don’t panic! The law requires a willful failure to comply, so if you work with a lawyer quickly to cooperate with the courts and rectify the situation, you may be able to avoid these penalties.)
Contempt of Court
When you violate the terms of your court order by missing an appearance, you may also be charged with indirect contempt of court. This offense is punishable by up to $500 and 6 months in county jail.
2. Bench Warrant
In addition to being charged with more crimes, the judge may issue a bench warrant. This means the police are legally obligated to arrest you at any time — routine traffic stops included — and hold you in jail without bond until you attend a court hearing for your missed appearance.
3. Suspension of Driver’s License
After missing a court date, the judge may order that your driver’s license be suspended until you appear before a judge. During this time, you will not be able to renew your license or drive on public roadways, and if you are caught driving under a suspended license in Oklahoma, you could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and a year in prison.
4. Bail Forfeiture, Bond Revocation, and Bounty Hunters
If You Were Released On Personal Recognizance
If you were previously released from jail on personal recognizance — meaning you did not have to post bail, only make a promise to appear before court when ordered — and miss your court date, then the judge may change your conditions of release by imposing a bond. This means you’ll now have to deposit money with the court to stay out of custody while your case is pending. You may also lose all future personal recognizance privileges, meaning that for future offenses, you will always be required to post bail in order to be released from custody.
If You Were Released After Posting Bail With A Cash Bond
Usually, the courts will refund your bail once you appear in court, but if you violate the bail agreement by skipping court on the big day, the courts will keep the full bail amount and you forfeit your claim to getting any of that money back. If you posted bail with a cash bond using all of your own money, then you lose whatever you paid. Additionally, the judge may increase the bond amount, meaning you now have to pay more to stay out of custody.
If You Were Released After Posting Bail With A Surety Bond
When you work with a bail bondsman to post bail using a surety bond, you sign a binding contract with them. You promise to appear in court when ordered, and in return, they provide the up-front bail amount, planning to take a small percentage fee as payment once you go to court and your bail money is returned.
By failing to appear in court, you break the terms of your agreement with the bondsman and forfeit the full bail amount to the court. This means your bail bond agent not only loses their payment fee — they lose the entire bail amount they fronted for your case. When this happens, they may hire a bounty hunter to bring you to justice and recover their lost funds.
Contact Affordable Bail Bonds for Bail Bondsmen You Can Rely On
At Affordable Bail Bonds in Wagoner County, our mission is to help you stay out of custody and navigate the justice system with ease. We understand that many times, families have no choice but to post bail using a surety bond from a bail bonding company, so we strive to be your trusted resource in a time of need. We offer flexible repayment terms and zero-interest payment plans, and our bail bond agents will help you navigate the release process, making sure you understand all your next steps so that you can make it to court when you need to and receive your full bail reimbursement.
Our phones are open 24/7, so contact us now for immediate help getting you or your loved one out of custody today.