Why Failing To Appear Is A Failing Strategy In Colorado Probation Violation Cases
Why Failing To Appear Is A Failing Strategy In Colorado Probation Violation Cases – The concern that I have with many of those who are placed on probation – is the head in the sand approach of making the mistake of failing to appear for some court date and then letting so much time pass that they fear they will be arrested and held without bond.
Colorado Probation Violation Attorneys know that the worst strategy there is while on probation – is to fail to appear for a court date – review date – or other in or out of court appointment with a judge or probation officer and then wait for the inevitable bench warrant that issues for that behavior.
If you are charged with a crime – and you receive a summons – (a ticket or citation) write down the court date – time and location and then tell it to your parents – your siblings – maybe even your friends. The go! If there is a very GOOD reason for not appearing – contact the court at the LINK below and see if you can reschedule the date…. If that does not work – then at least try to reach a lawyer to see if the attorney can appear for you and obtain a waiver of your appearance.
What IS A Failure to Appear In Colorado?
Failing to appear – or FTA – as the courts call it – means not reporting to court on your court date. Without an explanation – and sometimes even with an explanation – a judge issues what is called a bench warrant for your arrest. A bench warrant IS an arrest warrant which is then placed on the state database. It is essentially an order for any person in law enforcement (and/or bondsman) to arrest the subject of the warrant and to take that person into custody.
Why Failing To Appear Is A Failing Strategy In Colorado Probation Violation Cases – Active Warrants Do NOT Go Away
If an active warrant for failure to appear is issued (a bench warrant)it WILL show up on any background check and will never “go away” there is no “statute of limitations” on how long it remains active. It is always active until it is removed. If you are brought to the attention of the police – say in a routine traffic stop – you WILL be arrested.. a terrifying experience and one to be avoided.
The Forfeiture Of Bail – And Setting Of Bail On The Bench Warrant
Most criminal cases, except those that were initiated though a summons, have some form of bail or bond set LINK. The bail originally set in a criminal case may be a personal recognizance bond or a $5,000.00 cash property or surety bond posted through a bondsman.
If you fail to appear – the original bond is forfeited to the state of Colorado and a new bail bond amount is set. This jeopardizes the security your bondsman “put up ” for your freedom or your own collateral you posted – cash or otherwise for your original bail bond.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking a warrant will not have issued. It did and the new terms and conditions of your bail bond will normally be much more strict and a much higher amount than on the original bail that was set last/
The Denial Of ANY Bail In Colorado Probation Violation Cases
In most probation violation cases – a NO BOND WARRANT – is issued. If you are arrested on a no bond warrant – you may not be released by the judge on bond after you are arrested and brought to court for advisement. However, in a probation violation situation – the judge is mandated to set a hearing on your probation violation within 14 days.
Why Failing To Appear (FTA) And Then Delaying The Surrender Makes Non Sense.
If you fail to appear for ANY court date – or probation review date – it is a violation of your probation. Like all probation violations the longer you ignore the problem – the worse it works out for you . The consequences of a failure to appear in ANY context are greatly lessened by IMMEDIATELY taking care of the problem and not delaying action.
Your “action plan” for a failure to appear – especially in a serious Colorado criminal case – – should be to contact and possibly retain an experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer – who can not only advise you on your options and course of action – but can contact your PO and the authorities and make arrangements to have you surrender to the court and have your bail set or lowered substantially. Delaying this process makes it harder to defend you.
The Risks Of Ignoring A Failure To Appear Bench Warrant
Here’s an example scenario. Business has been very busy recently – you have not complellted your therapy or your public service hours on time. You have a court date or a review meeting set with your PO and you either intentionally blow it of or you simply forget.
Later you remember and you know a warrant has issues. What are you risking? You are risking a probation violation – which can result in prison (felony cases), jail (misdemeanor cases), increased months if not years of probation, increased terms of probation, (more therapy- public service hours – fines,) and possibly a new crime – for violation of your bail bond – if you are on bond in another case.
Failing To Appear And The Loss Of Your Driver’s License
When and if you fail to appear for a required court date …or even if you fail to timely pay a for a fine on a ticket, you can assume that the FTA was reported to the Colorado DMV. This will result in the cancellation or denial of your driver’s license and you are not allowed to drive during the cancellation or denial period of time until the warrant is quashed.
There are no driving privileges that can be granted by the Hearings Division while under this type of action.
The Hearings Division has no authority to hold hearings on these types of matters. However, assuming no other restraints are in effect, you may be able to reinstate once these matters are resolved (such as obtaining a “courtesy clearance” from the court).
Violation Of Bail Bond Conditions – A New Crime
Violation of bail bond conditions is a crime in Colorado. If you are found guilty of the new crime – not only is it a violation of probation (if you are on probation) the new conviction brings with it – a whole new set of problems – conditions of probation – possible jail and fines.
What’s more, because failure to appear for a court date is a crime in and of itself, the court may find you guilty of the offense—even if your original charges are dismissed or you are found not guilty. As a result, it is important have legal counsel if you were recently charged with failure to appear in court.
Why Consulting With – and Possibly Retaining A Colorado Probation Violation Lawyer Makes Sense
The goal of any probation violation is returning to the right road to a successful termination of probation. The role of the lawyer is to explain WHY – why you failed to appear, why you turned yourself in so quickly, why you should be given a second or third chance, why it makes sense to not impose jail or additional consequences.
No matter how frightened you may become – and the fear of arrest and jail time is very real – do not wait any longer than necessary to address your situation and to ensure the best possible outcome.
If You Decide To Represent Yourself – Start By Calling The Courts Using These Links
Here are complete links to Colorado county and municipal courts:
What Are Your Options For Surrendering On The Warrant – FTA – The Act Of “Turning Yourself In”
You would be surprised to know that the police will not “track you down” if you fail to appear and a bench warrant issues. It is very unlikely they will show up at your place of employment – come to your home – or intentionally stop you on the street.
More likely – your arrest will take place at the most unexpected moment – when you least expect it .. So here’s my suggestion – control the where and when and how of your surrender on the warrant.
First – Contact your bondsman – if you used one – and set up your surrender and the posting of the new amount of bail.
Second – If you don’t have a bondsman – have a family member or friend. ready to post your bond the same day you surrender.
Third – Contact a lawyer to assist you in the case and also argue for an immediate reduction of bond if it is too high an you cannot post the new bond or if there is a “no bond hold” on you as a result of the new warrant.
Challenging The Issuance Of The Arrest Warrant
Whether your warrant issued and was grounded on a solid legal basis you will need to retain a lawyer or qualify for a court appointed lawyer. An experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney will fight for you and advocate to avoid the legal penalties that can and often do result from an outstanding bench warrant.
Why Failing To Appear Is A Failing Strategy In Colorado Probation Violation Cases
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author – A Denver Colorado Probation Violation Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-227-7777.
If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about Why Failing To Appear Is A Failing Strategy In Colorado Probation Violation Cases, please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.
H. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of day to day courtroom experience – specializing in Colorado Criminal Law along the Front Range. He will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options. Remember, it costs NOTHING to discuss your case. Call now for an immediate free phone consultation.
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