​​​DUI & Criminal Attorney John C. Murphy

Failure to Appear (FTA) and Bench Warrants

Failure to Appear (FTA) / Bench Warrant
You have failed to appear for a court date.  What happens?  The Failure to Appear commonly referred to as a FTA, guarantees that the Judge has issued the even more feared bench warrant.  What do you do?

It’s best to always appear for your court hearings, no matter what the possible consequences.  If you have already failed to appear there are options to restore your freedom!  

I can advise you of your options! 

Call today (321) 985-0025

Penalties for Failure to Appear

When a defendant fails to appear, the judge will issue a bench warrant.  For a felony, the bench warrant is usually a no-bond warrant and for a misdemeanor the bench warrant is usually a much higher amount then the original bond amount warrant that requires the defendant to immediately be taken into custody. Once a warrant is issued you can be picked up almost anywhere.

Florida Statute makes it a separate first-degree misdemeanor ($1000 and a year in county jail) to fail to appear in court after posting bail in any misdemeanor case.  If the person fails to appear for any felony charge, then the offense can be charged as a separate third-degree felony ($5000 and up to 5 years in prison).

The best option available to you is to immediately seek assistance from an experienced criminal attorney.  Your lawyer will review your case and help determine your options as well as guide you through the process.

After arrest your options are limited! 
Call today (321) 985-0025

Hire a lawyer to avoid a FTA

If you are supposed to appear in court, speak to an attorney who can represent you throughout the process and help keep you from facing a Bench Warrant and keep you informed of what is going on in the case.  No showing up only makes a bad situation worse.  When I am representing you or a loved one, I can go to Court on your behalf and keep you from facing that FTA.  When authorized, I can negotiate an amicable resolution to your case.  For misdemeanor offenses in County Court, a Plea in Absentia (without you present) can be entered.  On rare occasions, a Plea in Absentia will be accepted in Circuit Court for felonies.

My Options 

Different jurisdictions handle FTAs and bench warrants differently. There are often ways to avoid going to jail on a bench warrant if you discover the FTA before being arrested.  BUT you must be proactive!  There are several choices you have if you discover the Bench Warrant before you arrest.  

1.  You can choose to surrender at the jail, at which time you’ll be placed in custody.  If there is a bond, you can post it and be released.  If it is a no bond, you will appear in front of the jail judge who may give you a bond or not.

2. Rather than immediately go to jail, your attorney can file a motion to surrender, which would allow you to surrender to a courtroom instead of directly at jail.  Sometimes the bond can be addressed and hopefully lowered.   

3.  Another option is for your lawyer to file a motion to recall the Bench Warrant and dismiss the failure to appear and request a new court date.

We can take control of your options! 
Call today (321) 985-0025

Other Adverse Consequences

The worst thing a defendant can do is remain in a failure to appear status.  The consequences of having an outstanding Bench Warrant include:

>suspension of your Florida DL indefinitely;

>trouble renting a house or apartment;

>being ineligible to collect government benefits such as SSI, unemployment compensation, or financial aid;

>difficulty finding or keeping a job because the bench warrant

will show up in a basic background check;

>forfeiture of the bail bond premium and the security which was pledged or given for your release from jail.

You Are Not Alone

I have represented hundreds of people who find out that they have a bench warrant, or those constantly looking over their shoulder for fear of untimely arrest with the slightest interaction (friendly or unfriendly) with law enforcement; or those who have been arrested because of a bench warrant that they didn’t know they had. 

I Understand

If you or a loved one failed to appear in court, call me right now (321) 985-0025.  We’ll talk about where, when and why you missed court; we’ll talk about whether it was for a misdemeanor, a felony or for a traffic offense; and, if the options are available to you, we’ll talk about the best possible strategy maintain your freedom, to dismiss the FTA, recall the bench warrant, and get the bail bond reinstated.

Whether you are facing an FTA / bench warrant in Brevard County or any where in the State of Florida. 

Call me at (321) 985-0025 before it is too late.

You'll Get Caught Eventually

Failures to Appear and Bench Warrants never go away and follow you forever.  Many clients formerly lived in Florida years ago and have sort of forgotten about an old Bench Warrant.  Those folks then decide to go on a cruise leaving out of a Florida port like Port Canaveral.  During the boarding process they are arrested and bought to the Brevard County Jail (BCJ).  They miss their cruise and start to deal with their long-forgotten Bench Warrant. 

Do not let this happen to you!  I am always available to talk about what we can do to minimize the damage after being caught, or to avoid most, if not all, of the dire consequences of having an FTA and a Bench Warrant.

Call me now (321) 985-0025.

I can help you.



CALL ME  (321) 985-0025