In Pennsylvania, if you have been assigned a court date and you do not come to court, there may actually be a warrant out for your arrest. Failing to appear (231 Pa. Code Section 1910.13-1 http://www.pacode.com/secure%2Fdata/231/chapter1910/s1910.13-1.html) in court is a serious criminal offense under Pennsylvania law, and if you find yourself charged with failure to appear, you need the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer.
A warrant from a failure to appear means that you can be arrested anywhere and at any time. Your attorney can help you work with the court to keep this from being a problem in the future for you.
Once you have been assigned a court date, your name goes into a statewide database, which can make it easier for law enforcement to find you. Be proactive and contact an attorney right away to help you with your case.
Why You Need to Be Proactive
If you have an outstanding warrant because you failed to appear in court, it can mean that you will be automatically arrested if you are seen by the police. Often, if you are pulled over a traffic stop for a random checkpoint or for a simple offense like not having a working headlight, you can be arrested on the spot if you have a warrant out for failing to appear.
The best time to address this problem is before you have been arrested, because it will ensure that the courts are aware that you know about the arrest warrant. But if you have already been arrested, then contact an attorney to help you work with the court system and make sure you are not in more trouble than you need to be.
Being arrested because of a bench warrant means that you can be held for up to three days before you can get a hearing about the bench warrant. Because these warrants do not just simply “disappear” but can linger long after you skipped out on your court date, you need to take care of the problem as soon as possible.
Call An Attorney Right Away
No matter why you did not appear in court — whether it was fear of punishment, panic, or simply forgetting or leaving town — you need to make sure it does not catch up with you and cause you serious problems down the road. Our experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorneys can help you with your case to make sure that you do not have to face a second arrest and more penalties.