Many traffic citations require you to show up at court for a hearing, but what happens if you miss your scheduled date? Our criminal defense lawyers in Raleigh are breaking down what it means when you have a failure to appear for a traffic ticket hearing and how you can get back in the court’s good graces.
How Do You Receive a “Failure to Appear?”
Missing a court date for a criminal misdemeanor or felony often results in having an immediate warrant issued for your arrest and substantial fines. Fortunately, failing to appear for a court date for a traffic ticket generally doesn’t have such severe penalties, though it’s still a serious issue.
Typically, if you miss your scheduled court date for your driving violation, you have 20 days to contact the county clerk’s office where you received the citation so you can reschedule. After this time period elapses, the judge presiding over your case will issue a Failure to Appear, or FTA. Once this happens, two things occur immediately:
- You will be hit with a $200 late fee on top of the fine for your traffic citation.
- The court clerk reports your FTA to the DMV who will then alert you that your driver’s license is being revoked if the court hearing is not resolved.
If your driving violation is a misdemeanor, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI), the judge can issue an FTA immediately rather than waiting 20 days. The judge can also issue a warrant for your arrest.
Which Traffic Citations Require a Court Appearance
- Driving on a suspended or revoked license
- DWI or driving with an open container of alcohol after drinking
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Speeding by 15 miles per hour or more while also driving above 55 mph
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Driving without the state minimum coverage of auto insurance
Getting Your FTA Erased and Your License Restored
If you miss your court date, and it’s been fewer than 20 days, you should immediately call the county clerk’s office to reschedule your date. After that, or if it’s been longer than 20 days, you should reach out to an experienced traffic violation lawyer who will help you with these challenges. Rather than paying the original traffic citation, plus late fees, court costs, and license restoration fees, which can add up to hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, the right attorney will work to get the FTA dismissed against you so you won’t have to pay the late fees or license restoration fees as well as work to get the initial traffic ticket dismissed or reduced to a minor violation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Defense Lawyer Today
Instead of having to go back to court, pay traffic tickets, plus all the fees required to get your license reinstated, the traffic violation lawyers at Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh can help you navigate the process much more easily so you can get your license restored and move forward. Speak with a lawyer 24 hours a day, seven days a week when you call (919) 887-8040 or fill out the form below to get started.