Missed Court Date in New Jersey
If you are required to appear for a scheduled court date in New Jersey and you miss it, there can be severe consequences. The severity depends on whether you missed a municipal court date or a superior court date, how many times you have missed your court date, and how serious the charges are against you.
There are certain cases in which a court appearance is required. These include:
- If you have committed a criminal offense e.g. assault, drug charge, robbery.
- If “court appearance required” is checked on your citation ticket.
- If your charge cannot be paid by mail or in a court office.
- If a personal injury has occurred.
- If you opted to have a trial even without the court appearance being required
- If you opted to have a trial even without a court appearance being required initially.
Missed Court Date at Municipal Court in NJ
If you miss a court date in a municipal court, the judge may issue a “failure to appear” notice, an arrest warrant, or re-list the case for another date. When you finally appear either as a result of the re-listing or warrant, you need to provide a good reason for missing the first court date.
If you have a sound reason, you are in the clear, but if it is not valid, you will have to pay a contempt fine in addition to the other fees and fines involved in your case. The judge could also forfeit your bail, meaning that you lose the money you paid; you must post addition bail, which tends to be more expensive. The judge could also have you put in jail until the case is completed.
For traffic violations, arrest warrants will not be issued unless you missed two court dates. Your license could also be suspended, and you will have to sort it out with the DMV once the case is over.
Missed Court Date at Superior Court NJ
Cases referred to the superior court in New Jersey are often much more serious so judges are rarely lenient if you miss a court date without a valid reason. You may have to provide documentation to prove medical emergencies or whatever another crisis you may have had. You also need an experienced lawyer from The Law Office of Benjamin Friedman to help you convince the judge that you were not disrespectful to the court.
If a warrant of arrest is issued for you, your attorney usually brings you in to show that you are turning yourself voluntarily. This shows that you are not trying to run; and when executed properly, the judge could withdraw the warrant and not forfeit your bail (which is usually expensive at the superior court level).
In the event you are inconsistent with your court appearance and do not have a valid reason, you could be charged with bail jumping. This could earn you five years in state prison in addition to contempt of court charges and fines.
What Do I Do If I Missed My NJ Court Date?
If you are missed a court date, contact The Law Office of Benjamin Friedman and we will handle it. We help explain your reasons to the judge so you won’t have to face the additional consequences mentioned above.