A DUI defendant’s first appearance in court is typically at the arraignment hearing. Arraignment is where you will be formally charged with DUI. Usually, the arraignment happens fairly quickly after you are arrested, but not always – in fact, sometimes it can take months. So what happens if the arraignment hearing slips your mind and you don’t show up?
Well, it’s not good. It’s certainly not the end of the world, but you must act quickly to fix it.
If you don’t go to your court date, you will end up with a failure to appear (FTA) leading, usually, to a bench warrant for your arrest. Warrants have many ramifications. Since they’re public record, anyone who has access to the database can see your warrants, which can mean failing a background check for a home or losing out on employment opportunities. If a warrant is discovered by a third party, sometimes they will contact the police themselves. If you get pulled over by police, they will see the warrant on your record and immediately arrest you. The price you will have to pay will definitely go up.
There’s only one way to get rid of a warrant: face the music. A warrant must be recalled by the courts, which means you have to turn yourself in. You can either go to the court yourself or hire a DUI defense attorney to make your case on your behalf. Naturally, an attorney is your best bet. They know the courts, they know the laws and they are often familiar with judges and other staff at the courthouse. The recall procedure is discretionary, meaning the judge decides whether to grant the recall and to put a DUI trial back on its regular schedule. Because of that, you want an attorney to help convince the judge to clear the warrant.
DUIs are expensive; contact a lawyer to help reduce your charges and penalties.