Failure to Appear

Failure to Appear in Michigan Court

In the state of Michigan you may be entitled to bail or bond, or released on your own recognizance (OR). If you fail to show up to court after being released on conditions, you may have a warrant out for your arrest. If you are facing charges because you failed to return to court, we can help you; call for a consultation on your case today.

Michigan Failure to Appear Laws

If a judge granted your release after posting bail and you fail to show up for court as agreed, your bail will be considered forfeited and (depending on the original charges) a warrant for your arrest will be immediately issued.

This also applies if you were released upon your own “recognizance”, or released on the promise that you would return (no money exchanging hands).

(See MCL 780.63)

**Remember, if you fail to appear and are then arrested on a warrant, a judge will be far less likely to release you again. This means you may be waiting for your court date(s) in jail.**

Bail on Traffic and Minor Misdemeanor Offenses (not including minor traffic infractions)

If you are cited with a traffic ticket or charged with another misdemeanor, you will be released on your own recognizance. This simply means you will not be required to put money up for your release prior to court.

However, you must appear at court even if you didn’t have to post bail. If you don’t you may face an additional misdemeanor charge.

Misdemeanors can carry up to 1 year in jail and fines up to $1,000. (MCL 780.62)

Judges only issue bonds in cases where they have reason to believe the defendant will return. By requiring cash as well as the potential for additional charges, the courts hope to have all defendants return on their court dates.

Am I likely to be granted bail or release in my criminal case?

As long as the crime you are charged with is not punishable by the death penalty, life imprisonment or a sentence of 20 years or more, a judge may grant your release on bail pending upcoming court dates.

When you post bail or make bond you are offering a sum of money as a guarantee that you will return to court at the appointed time. The conditions of a typical bond include:

1. That you will appear before the court to answer to charges as directed by the court,

2. That you will not leave the State while the original charges are still pending,

Do I have to go to court after receiving a speeding ticket?

Typically, no. Usually if you fail to go to court for a speeding ticket, a default judgment will be entered and fines will be due. This just means that if you aren’t there the court will assume you are guilty.

I have an old warrant. Is there a statute of limitations on failure to appear warrants?

No. Many people are under the impression that their trouble will just disappear if they don’t return to court.

Outstanding Warrants don’t just go away with time. If you are fleeing from a failure to appear, you will eventually get caught.

In fact, as new technologies come on line, such as automatic license plate scanners, and shared national criminal databases across different law enforcement agencies, your chances of being arrested on an old warrant are increasing.

The situation is absolutely best handled with direct accountability. Owning up to oversights or mistakes will serve you better than being caught off guard.

In fact, if the case is old, we may be able to get the warrant to go away, if they can no longer prove the underlying charge. But any active warrant can cause you serious problems.

If you are arrested while considered a “fugitive”, you lose all of your leverage in negotiating a good outcome, and your best chance to maintain your freedom. Contact us and we’ll let you know what we can do to help.

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