Failure to make a court appearance when required is an offense that initiates chain reactions. The court will forfeit your bond, irrespective of who paid it, and issue a bench warrant for your arrest. If arrested, the judge will require bail before your release from custody. Generally, skipping bail will include FTA fines on top of possible penalties associated with your underlying criminal charge. The total amount can be more than you can afford, which is where Bail Bond Company comes in. Our experienced Los Angeles bail bondsmen can assist you in understanding the complicated FTA laws and procedures and with the paperwork. Our bail bonds are easily accessible, high-speed, and pocket-friendly.
Failure to Appear
After you are arrested for a crime, you can pay bail to secure your release, allowing you to build a legal defense against the charges against you. You should adhere to specific terms and conditions during your pretrial time, including court appearances.
An FTA leads to the judge issuing your bench warrant (a warrant for arrest). Reasons the judge can issue a bench warrant include the following:
- The judge ordered you to make a court appearance at a designated place and time.
- You were released from detention on bail, and the judge ordered you to show up for a scheduled court hearing.
- You were released from police custody on your own recognizance and promised to attend your court hearings.
- The police released you from custody after you signed a citation with a promise to make a court appearance.
- You authorized your criminal defense lawyer to make a court appearance on your behalf, but the court/judge ordered you to make a court appearance.
Before convicting you of FTA, the court must verify the following:
- You were charged with an offense in California.
- You were later released from police custody.
- You deliberately failed to attend the required court hearing.
- You acted so to evade the court process.
Consequences and Penalties for FTA
FTA penalties depend on the statute you are charged with. Possible statutes per California law include the following:
The FTA penalties and consequences per Penal Code 1320 depend on your alleged crime.
If prosecuted for a California misdemeanor, the FTA is a misdemeanor that carries a six-month maximum county jail sentence.
If facing a felony, the FTA is a felony punishable by three years of incarceration.
Failure to appear as per Penal Code 1320.5 is a California felony. The offense attracts the following potential penalties:
- A three-year county jail sentence.
- A ten-thousand-dollar fine.
- Three years in California state prison.
Penal Code Section 853.7 PC
If charged with Penal Code 853.7, the FTA is a California misdemeanor. The crime carries a fine of one thousand dollars and six (6) months in county jail.
Vehicle Code Section 40508 VC
VC 40508 is the law that makes it an offense to fail to show up in traffic court following a traffic violation or stop.
The prosecution does not have to prove the defendant was guilty of the underlying traffic crime. The defendant breaks this statute by violating the promise to:
- Pay their bail in installments,
- Attend required court hearings,
- Appear to pay your bail,
- Pay fines within the designated time, or
- Abide by court terms.
A VC 40508 violation is a California misdemeanor. It does not matter whether your underlying traffic violation was an infraction. The crime attracts:
- Six (6) months in jail.
- A one thousand dollar maximum fine.
The violation can also result in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspending your license for thirty days.
Legal Defenses to FTA
The California courts will not drop or recall your bench warrant. Also, a bench warrant does not expire after a specific period and remains effective until the defendant subject to the warrant dies. That means you should attend a bench warrant hearing to recall it.
The court hearing is held, and you should prove that your FTA was excusable and justifiable. Some of the defenses you can present before the judge include the following:
- You did not act willfully — The prosecution must establish that you deliberately missed your scheduled court hearings before finding you guilty. Therefore, without this fact about the crime, a conviction will not happen.
- You did not attempt to evade the judicial system — You cannot be convicted if this intent does not exist. You can say that you had injuries, an emergency, a disease with a medical statement or report to support it, suffered from a mental health condition, or could make the appearance due to a disability.
- The FTA happened because you did not sign any agreement to make any court appearances.
Please note that the excuses below are not valid legal defenses for FTA:
- You did not feel like going to court.
- You had other matters to handle.
- You ignored your court date because you are innocent.
How Much Do FTA Bail Bonds Cost?
FTA bail bonds could cost up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) if you were out of detention on bail before you failed to attend your court hearing.
After your arrest, the judge will require full bail payment for your initial criminal charges and FTA before releasing you. The bail amount depends on factors like the seriousness of the crime and whether your charge is a felony or a misdemeanor.
Outlined below are common misdemeanor charges and their bail amounts:
- Penal Code 1203.2 (violating probation) — $5,000.
- VC 23152 (a) (Driving under the influence) — $5,000.
- PC 148.2 ( resisting or interfering with the legal effort of emergency rescue personnel or firefighters in the discharge or attempt to discharge an official duty)— $5,000.
- PC 314 (indecent exposure) — $5,000.
- PC 12025(b)(7) (carrying a concealed firearm) — $5,000.
- Penal Code (a) (possession of underage obscenity) — $10,000.
- Penal Code 417 (a)(2) (exhibiting a firearm) — $10,000.
- PC 290 (failure to register as a sex offender) — $10,000.
- PC 241 (assault against a police officer) — $10,000.
- PC 273.65 (violation of a restraining order) — $10,000.
Some California felony criminal charges include the following:
- HS 11343.2(a)(1) (inducing a juvenile to commit a drug crime) — $10,000.
- PC 12022.53(c) (discharging a firearm when committing a felony)— $200,000.
- Health and Safety Code 11380.1(a)(2) (Using a juvenile to violate a drug crime) — $20,000.
- PC (422.72(a)) Hate crime — $20,000.
- Penal Code 12021.5(b) (Carrying a gun during a crime commission) is between $20,000 and $30,000.
- Health and Safety Code 11370.4(a)(2) (Committing a drug crime involving PCP) — $30,000.
- HS 11353.6(b) (Committing a drug crime near a school) — $40,000.
- HS 113553.6 (c) (Drug crime involving a child below four years — $40,000.
- Penal Code 1203.045 (theft involving more than one thousand dollars) — $50,000.
Your bail bond agent can arrange for FTA bail and other related costs. California sets the cost of bail bonds at a maximum of ten percent of the entire bail cost. That means if your bail amount is $40,000, you will pay a four-thousand-dollar premium.
The premium/bail fee is non-refundable regardless of whether your FTA charges are dropped, or you are found not guilty. The fee is your bail bond agency’s primary source of income and how it manages to stay in business.
While bail bond agencies should charge a 10% rate, Bail Bond Company has numerous pocket-friendly options and provides flexible payment options.
How To Find Your Loved One’s FTA Bail Amount Online
When a relative or friend is arrested for FTA, determining the required bail amount is essential to securing their release. However, obtaining this information can be overwhelming, particularly if you are not well-versed in legal procedures. There are numerous resources and tools available to know a person’s FTA bail amount online, including:
- Your bondsman — Most seasoned bail bondsmen have resources and tools that permit you to search for a defendant and know their required bail amount. Also, some firms have bail calculators that estimate the bail bond cost.
- County jail website — Most California county jails have websites where you can search for a defendant’s name and see their total bail amount. You can call the jail or research a specific jurisdiction's website online.
- Court website — Some California courts have case lookup tools where you can research a criminal case by its case number or the defendant’s name to view information like the court hearing dates, bail amount, and the alleged criminal charge.
- Private inmate search website — Some websites permit a person to search for a defendant and see different aspects of their booking details at a cost.
Please note that the accuracy and availability of online details vary, and it is wise to authenticate the details you find online with the relevant law enforcement agencies. If you cannot find the arrest record online, contact the law enforcement agency that arrested your loved one, a criminal defense lawyer, or your bondsman.
Dismissal Based on Failure to Enter Warrant in Database
Occasionally, a court clerk can either fail to tell a specific authority to enter the defendant’s bench warrant details into the National Crime Information Center, or the authority can neglect to do so.
If a bondsman arrested you under an FTA bench warrant, and the police released you because they could not find your warrant in the warrant, the judge cannot forfeit your posted bond.
However, you should consult your defense lawyer before another bench warrant or the original warrant enters the database.
Frequently Asked Questions
Discussed below are some of the most commonly asked questions about FTA bail bonds:
How Do You Correctly Turn Yourself in for Failure to Appear?
The longer it takes after missing your scheduled court hearing, the more severe the penalties can become. The law enforcers will not come to your home or work to serve the bench warrant, so you should turn yourself in immediately.
Before acting so, ensure you contact your seasoned bondsman and defense lawyer. They will advise you on what to say and do when addressing your situation. Otherwise, you risk being arrested and detained until your next available court hearing, generally within 24 to 72 hours.
How Many Times Can the Judge Reschedule Your Court Hearing Date?
The number of times the judge can reschedule your court date depends on your case and requires the court’s permission. If you have valid reasons to change the date, it is wise to address it early to avoid missing the court date.
The judge is experienced in court hearing rescheduling and can tell when you have an unreasonable delay tactic. While you can request the rescheduling, if the judge thinks you are unreasonable and denies your request, you must appear in court on the scheduled date.
Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help You?
A defense attorney can work with you to secure your release and reduce your trial-related penalties. They can help you challenge your FTA criminal charges and recall your bench warrant. In quashing your beach warrant, your lawyer will argue that:
- You followed your court order requirements or
- There was a mistaken identity.
Most law firms and attorneys offer free initial consultations, and you can receive legal advice free of charge. Also, an attorney-client relationship protects your communication with your lawyer. The lawyer cannot share your information.
How Does an Arrest Warrant Differ from a Bench Warrant?
If you fail to make an ordered court appearance, the judge will issue either an arrest warrant or a bench warrant, depending on the reason for showing up in court.
If the judge issues a bench warrant, they will add your name to a database. If you come across the law enforcer, they could run your name for the active bench warrant, irrespective of why you were detained.
On the other hand, an arrest warrant means the police are actively seeking to arrest and detain you. It means round-the-clock, whether at your home or workplace.
Will Your Beach Warrant Show Up on Your Background Check?
You can call the court or research public records websites to learn if the judge has issued a warrant against you.
You can also contact your bondsman, defense attorney, or the county where your warrant could be issued.
Contact a Reliable Bondsman Near Me
After your release from detention on bail, you should comply with certain conditions, including making court appearances. FTA is a crime that can result in additional penalties for your underlying crime. While a family or medical emergency, illness, or mental health condition are valid reasons to miss the required court hearing, the judge could disagree. Bail Bond Company, a seasoned Los Angeles-based bonding service provider, understands that everyone can make a mistake and that FTA does not always mean you are trying to skip bail. We can help you understand the available options and secure FTA bail bonds. Our services are pocket-friendly, fast, and easily accessible. We also offer flexible financing options.
Please call us at 323-579-1415. Our knowledgeable team will gladly answer your questions and guide you through the process.