Drivers pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI) may get a ticket or they may be taken to jail. In California, the court may then release a driver on bail, with the understanding that the driver will return for their arraignment hearing. What happens if you don’t go to court for your arraignment hearing for a DUI?
The judge may issue a bench warrant for you if you miss a court date. You may also face criminal charges for failure to appear (FTA). These actions can have serious impacts on your life. You’ll also still face the DUI charge. Find out how to handle this situation below.
Understanding Arraignment Hearings for DUI Cases
An arraignment hearing generally represents your first court date after a DUI arrest. You are legally required to attend this hearing. You will learn about the specific charges you are facing at an arraignment hearing. You must also enter your plea. You may plead:
- Not guilty
- No contest
It is generally advised that you plead not guilty to a DUI charge. However, you may wish to discuss your plea with a DUI lawyer before your arraignment hearing. No matter what you decide to plead, you should not skip this hearing.
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Skipping Your DUI Arraignment Hearing and Bench Warrants
Some drivers do not make it to their DUI arraignment hearing. A few things may happen in this situation. First of all, the judge handling your case will likely issue a bench warrant for you. A bench warrant indicates that police officers should arrest you and bring you to court.
Bench warrants should receive serious treatment in California. Bench warrants do not expire or go away on their own. They last until they are removed by the court or until the individual named in the warrant passes away.
You can work to resolve a bench warrant on your own by turning yourself in. You can also contact a DUI lawyer for help with a bench warrant. A lawyer can work to clear a bench warrant for you. For example, lawyers may clear your warrant if you were charged with a misdemeanor and did not appear in court.
Criminal Charges for Failure to Appear in California
Ignoring a court date is against the law in California. Drivers accused of ignoring their arraignment hearing may face criminal charges. These charges usually fall under California Vehicle Code Section 40508. Drivers convicted under VC 40508 may face:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to six months
Note that these penalties do not take the place of any repercussions for a DUI conviction. Failure to appear is a separate criminal charge. You may end up dealing with additional penalties if you are also convicted of a DUI. Get help handling VC 40508 charges by calling (310) 896-2723.
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Additional Repercussions If You Don’t Go to Court for a DUI
Thus far, we have discussed specific legal repercussions for failure to appear for a DUI. Any driver may face a bench warrant and VC 40508 charges. Failure to appear may also impact your bail in some cases. Some judges will not offer you bail if you fail to appear for an arraignment hearing.
Bail allows you to stay out of jail until your criminal trial. The court may consider you a flight risk if you did not go to court as ordered. They may decide to keep you behind bars until your trial. They may also set your bail at a very high amount.
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Handling Charges for Failure to Appear for a DUI
You have legal options if you failed to appear in court after a DUI arrest. A DUI lawyer can work to show that you had a viable reason for missing your court date. For example, you are not required to go to court if you are currently in the hospital or out of the country while serving in the military.
A DUI lawyer may also help you handle the DUI charges you are facing. Your lawyer may even work to handle any bench warrants issued in your name. Get help facing all of your legal challenges right now.
Find Out What Happens if You Don’t Go to Court for a DUI
You may face a bench warrant and criminal charges if you don’t go to court for a DUI. The court may later deny you bail. Get help handling these repercussions by contacting a DUI lawyer here in California. A lawyer can start working to defend you right now. Find out more by calling the Simmrin Law Group at (310) 896-2723 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.