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The Outcome of Failing to Appear in Court for a Traffic Ticket

If a law enforcement officer in California feels a driver violated the law, the driver may be given a traffic ticket. The potential fine that you may be required to pay is disclosed on these tickets. In most cases, tickets also specify a date on which you must appear in court to get the ticket dismissed.

That said, what would happen if you fail to appear in court for a traffic ticket in California? Read on to find out.

a) A Bench Warrant Could be Issued for You

Following the issuance of a ticket in California, the judge in your case might anticipate seeing you in court. The court may issue a bench warrant if you fail to attend on the scheduled day and time.

With the use of a bench warrant, police are authorized to detain you and take you into custody. The California court system may even be harsher with people who are apprehended on a warrant.

A bench warrant should be noted since it never runs out of validity. Until you get it removed from your record, it will remain there. You might wish to get in touch with a traffic violation attorney in Los Angeles, California, to have your warrant lifted. If you weren\’t accused of a criminal, a traffic violation attorney could be able to clear a warrant for your arrest.

However, to address the charges against you and the warrant, you might need to go before a judge and jury if you were given one since you missed court.

b) You May Be Charged with Failure to Appear in California

Legally, if you get a traffic ticket in California, you might have to go to court. Under Vehicle Code 40508a, you may be penalized with a misdemeanor if you violate this rule. You should be aware that even if your ticket was simply for an infraction, you could still be charged with a misdemeanor.

A conviction for VC 40508a as a misdemeanor could have detrimental effects on you. A VC 40508a violation may result in the following penalties:

  • Prison time of up to six months
  • A fine of up to $1,000

In some cases, following a conviction for failing to appear, courts elect to sentence people to probation rather than jail time. While you are on probation, you might need to follow certain rules imposed by the legal system. If you don\’t abide by these rules, you can face probation violation charges in California.

Building a Defense for Failure to Appear Charges

In California, charges for failing to appear in court may be handled by working with a lawyer. A traffic law expert could evaluate your case to determine whether you have a good excuse for missing the hearing. By doing this, you might be able to get your charges dropped entirely. Depending on your circumstances, a lawyer might try to prove the points listed below.

  • You Did Not Intentionally Fail to Appear

In most cases, you should only be found guilty of failure to appear if you \”willfully\” skipped court. To be found guilty of failure to appear, you must knowingly skip a court appearance. Your charges might be lowered if you accidentally miss a court date.

  • You Were Prevented From Appearing Due to an Emergency

Emergencies do occur. You could be unable to appear in court due to circumstances beyond your control. For instance, you can experience a serious health issue or be involved in a car accident. Your absence from the California courtroom could be justified in either of these scenarios.

  • You Did Not Sign a Promise to Appear in Court

Technically, you are only required to show up in court if you signed a document committing to do so. This agreement is, however, typically found on your ticket. Before delivering your ticket, the majority of law enforcement officials will require you to sign this agreement.


If you are ticketed for a traffic violation, it is important to appear in court as scheduled. If you fail to appear, you may be subject to additional fines and penalties, including a driver\’s license suspension.

In such a case, take note of all our pointers above and ensure that you follow all the technicalities so that you may not incur further fines or penalties.

If you are looking for a well-trusted traffic ticket attorney in Los Angeles, look no further than our experienced practitioners here at the Law Offices of Amir Soleimanian & Associates, INC. We provide aggressive representation to clients in Los Angeles and across the entire state of California who have received traffic tickets. Call us today and let us discuss all your current options when it comes to your reckless driving case.

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