Failure to appear

From ArticleWorld


Failure to appear is the crime committed by a person who has a duty or has agreed to appear in court, but fails to do so without a valid and lawful cause. The crime can b e committed by person who may have been required to appear in court for a mere traffic violation or jury service. The offender can also be a mere witness or a defendant or respondent in a civil or criminal case already filed in court.

Among those who may be required to appear in court are:

  • plaintiff
  • defendant or respondent
  • ordinary citizens who are called to render jury service
  • witnesses

Consequences of failure to appear

The appearance of persons who are duty-bound to appear in court at a certain date and time is crucial to the proper functioning of the wheels of justice. The defendants of respondents are required to appear in court so that they can defend themselves against the accusations against them. Witnesses are required to appear in court to shed light on important matters.

Persons who fail to appear before the court may be slapped with a misdemeanor, be arrested on the basis of a bench warrant, or their license suspended. Defendants who fail to appear in court can face the possibility of being declared in default and the case may be decided even without his participation. Failure to appear in court when one is charged criminally can result to dire consequences like the issuance of a warrant of arrest.

On the other hand, the non-appearance of the plaintiff or the person who filed the case can result to the dismissal of the case.

Failure to appear in court when one is obliged to do so, as when one is required to render jury service, is equivalent to doing something that will imperil the swift and fair delivery of justice. Failure to appear for jury service without a lawful reason can result to a simple notification, bench warrant for contempt of court, or a fine to punish the person who disregarded the court’s order.