Legal Term Tuesday: Failure to Appear

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Legal Term Tuesday: Failure to Appear

Legal Term Tuesday: Failure to Appear

Justin Lavelle
January 13, 2016

This is the latest entry in BeenVerified’s legal term library designed to help you better understand public record information, criminal records and related terminology. The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

Failure to appear equates to the missing of a court date when a person is scheduled to appear before a judge. What are the penalties for failing to appear, and will an incident such as this appear on your public record? Read on to find out.

Failure to appear involves any criminal incident that an accused must answer for before a judge, but also can occur in instances when a person is subpoenaed. Often times, subpoenas are served to witnesses who may be afraid to testify in court for any number of reasons. This can lead to a decision to avoid his or her court appearance, but also any number of serious consequences.

Failing to appear in court at a scheduled time is considered a criminal offense, according to LegalMatch. Depending on the circumstances and state laws, failure to appear can result in additional fines and fees or a warrant may go out for the arrest of the person in question. People who fail to appear for their scheduled court date can also be held in contempt of court. This can lead to being held in jail or having one’s license revoked for the duration of his or her case.

Failure to appear can also impact civil lawsuits as well. In such cases, a failure to appear by either the plaintiff or defendant can lead to judgments against the person and a loss of procedural rights, according to the Free Dictionary by Farlex. In most cases an appearance in court can be fulfilled through an attorney.

Both failure to appear and contempt of court charges are typically classified as misdemeanors, according to If convicted of a misdemeanor the person in question will likely find this incident on his or her public record.

Celebrities who have failed to appear for court dates include Katt Williams, Randy Quaid and Wiz Khalifa.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.