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Failure to Appear

If a person fails to appear for a court date in Florida after posting bond, receiving a notice to appear, or being released on recognizance (ROR), a bench warrant (also known as an alias capias) will be issued for his or her arrest. A bench warrant is usually a “no-bond” warrant, meaning that an alleged offender who is taken into custody on one will be unable to bond out of jail after being arrested and must wait until the next court appearance before a judge can be scheduled.

Failure to appear is charged as a separate offense, meaning that alleged offenders who are accused of this crime must deal with this offense as well as the underlying criminal charges that were the basis for the required court appearances. Missing court dates can be very costly for alleged offenders, as they risk forfeiting any bond or collateral that was posted as a condition of their releases.

Lawyer for Failure to Appear in Gainesville, FL

If you were arrested or believe a warrant has been issued for your arrest because of a missed court appearance, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Galigani Law Firm aggressively defends clients throughout the criminal process in communities throughout Levy County, Gilchrist County, Alachua County, Marion County, and many surrounding areas of Gainesville.

Gainesville criminal defense attorney Dean Galigani is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law by the Florida Bar. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (352) 375-0812 to take advantage of a free initial consultation.


Alachua County Failure to Appear Information Center


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Gainesville Failure to Appear Charges

In order to convict a person of failure to appear in Florida, Chapter 29.18 of the Florida Standard Jury Instructions states that a prosecutor must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The alleged offender was released from custody pursuant to Chapter 903, Florida’s bail statute;
  • The alleged offender was released in connection with a felony charge, in connection with a misdemeanor charge, while awaiting sentencing, or pending review by certiorari after conviction of an offense; and
  • After his or her release, the alleged offender willfully (defined as "intentionally, knowingly, and purposely") failed to appear as required before a court or judicial officer.

Florida Statute § 843.15 establishes that a person commits failure of a defendant on bail to appear if he or she, having been released pursuant to chapter 903, willfully fails to appear before any court or judicial officer as required. Failure to appear offenses are classified as follows:

  • If the alleged offender was released in connection with a charge of misdemeanor, failure to appear is a first-degree misdemeanor; and
  • If the alleged offender was released in connection with a charge of felony or while awaiting sentence or pending review by certiorari after conviction of any offense, failure to appear is a third-degree felony.

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Failure to Appear Penalties in Alachua County

In many failure to appear cases, extenuating circumstances such as medical emergencies or automobile accidents are often used as valid defenses to the criminal charges. It is important for any person who has missed a court appearance to speak to a Gainesville criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible because there are typically multiple options to resolve a capias.

Some alleged offenders may be able to utilize a self-arrest program or immediately surrender themselves at the local jail. In other cases, a motion can be filed to withdraw the arrest warrant or a motion to surrender.

Convictions for failure to appear can carry some stiff consequences, including:

  • First-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $1,000; or
  • Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

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Florida Failure to Appear Resources

Most Wanted | Alachua County Sheriff's Office — On this section of the Alachua County Sheriff's Office website, you can view some of the active warrants for alleged offenders in the county. You can access felony warrants, misdemeanor warrants, featured warrants, and deadbeat parents. You can also report a tip if you know of anyone who has an outstanding warrant or is wanted by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office for questioning.

Alachua County Sheriff's Office
2621 SE Hawthorne Rd.
Gainesville, FL 32641
(352) 367-4000

State v. Diaz de la Portilla, 177 So. 3d 965, 973 (Fla. 2015) — Alex Diaz de la Portilla failed to appear pursuant to a court order at a hearing on a motion to hold him in contempt during a dissolution of marriage proceeding, and the trial court held him both in civil contempt and direct criminal contempt. The First District Court of Appeal certified the following question to be of great public importance: "Whether a party who is ordered by a trial court to appear at a scheduled hearing, but fails to do so, may be found in direct criminal contempt under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.830; or whether such conduct should be addressed as indirect criminal contempt under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.840?" On November 5, 2015, the Supreme Court of Florida ruled that the First District Court of Appeal was correct in ruling that the failure to appear pursuant to an order should be treated as indirect criminal contempt under rule 3.840.


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Galigani Law Firm | Gainesville Failure to Appear Defense Attorney

Do you think that a warrant has been issued for your arrest or were you already arrested in north central Florida because of a missed court appearance? You will want to contact Galigani Law Firm as soon as possible for help achieving the most favorable possible resolution of your case.

Our experienced criminal defense lawyers in Gainesville represent individuals all over the greater Gainesville area, including communities all over Bradford County, Union County, Columbia County, Baker County, and several others. Call (352) 375-0812 or submit an online contact form to have our attorneys review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free, confidential consultation.



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