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What are possible consequences for missing a court date?

Posted on July 2, 2021

It is understandable that you may attach some dread to the process of going to court for criminal charges. However, the possible ramifications of failing to comply with an order to appear should be a far more worrisome prospect.

If you are facing criminal charges, you have to be present when a court hears your case.
Whether you receive a summons for felony charges or a misdemeanor, failure to attend may have serious consequences.


Violating an order to appear in court gives the court authority to issue a bench warrant for your arrest. After this type of arrest, you may have to remain in jail until your court date.

Forfeiture of bail

In many instances, criminal defendants need to post bail to stay out of jail until their case goes to trial. If you paid the full cost of your bail and missed your court date, you will forfeit what you paid. If you paid with a bond, the bondsman may be able to make a claim against your assets or property.

Contempt of court

Ignoring a summons constitutes violation of a court order, so a judge may rule that you are in contempt of court. As a result, you may have to serve time in jail or pay a fine.

Ultimately, you should never disobey an order to attend a criminal hearing. Claiming that you had a prior obligation or you did not think your attendance was important will not serve you well when you have to answer for failing to appear.