Missing a criminal court date in Indiana is far more serious than simply missing an appointment. You can be charged with a separate, additional criminal offense of failure to appear under Indiana law. The result could be additional jail time and fines separate from any originating charges that brought you to court in the first place. And, it is likely a bench warrant for your arrest was issued, and you are now considered a fugitive, and could be arrested and thrown in jail at any time.
There may be a legitimate reason as to why you missed court. Maybe it was accidental, or you simply panicked and skipped court, which you now regret.
Too often, however, people miss court and think the charge will just “go away”. This is not the case and staying on the run will only worsen the consequences when you do get caught. And there is no “statute of limitations” on a charge for which you are considered an active fugitive.
But there are often things we can do to help fix this problem, and avoid serious consequences. If you aren’t sure of how to handle the situation you have gotten into, we can help.
Indiana Failure to Appear – Laws & Penalties
The additional charge you face for failure to appear depends on the criminal charge you were facing on the missed court date. For instance, if you were facing a felony battery charge, your failure to appear is taken more seriously than if you were facing a misdemeanor reckless driving charge.
Misdemeanor Failure to Appear
If the original charge was a misdemeanor, your failure to appear charge will be a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to 1 year in jail and fines reaching $5,000.
Felony Failure to Appear
If the original charge you were facing was a felony, your failure to appear charge will be a Class D felony. This level of felony carries a potential sentence of 6 months to 3 years in prison and maximum fines of $10,000.
Ref: IC 35-44-3-6
Free Legal Consultation on Failure to Appear in Court in Indiana.
Serious penalties await if you fail to appear. The longer you wait to turn yourself in, however, the more likely you are to be caught, and lose all of your bargaining power.
Often we can negotiate with the court for you to turn yourself in, and face minimal or even no penalty for having missed your court date. And if the evidence against you in the underlying case is old or weak, we may be able to get the entire case dismissed.
If you are out of state or out of the country, we may be able to fix your warrant for failure to appear without you even needing to show up in court.
If you are still wondering what to do next, contact us and talk to us about the circumstances. We can help you decide what the best decision is and how to go about dealing with the repercussions.
When it’s time to go back to court, we want to be there with you. Defending you and representing your best interests. Call us today to find out what we can do for you. There is no obligation for the initial consultation and it is entirely free.