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Traffic court

What are the Consequences of Missing Your Traffic Ticket Court Date?

So you’ve gotten a traffic ticket, and it says you have to appear in New Orleans Traffic Court? Though it may seem tempting to skip a traffic court date, doing so has the potential to make your life miserable. Louisiana has harsh penalties for people who refuse to appear in court court.

Even if you are completely innocent of the alleged offense, you should still show up to your scheduled traffic court appearance date. Otherwise, you could be fined for contempt of court, your license could be suspended, or you might even be arrested. At Crescent City Law, we’re here to help you make sure that doesn’t happen.

What happens if you fail to show up for your court date

Even if the violation you’ve been ticketed for is a minor offense, you could still get in serious legal trouble if you fail to show up for your court date.

Here are some of the potential consequences for skipping your traffic court appointment:

  • Fines or jail time for contempt of court: If you miss your traffic court date, the judge can immediately impose a fine for contempt of court. Those found guilty repeatedly of contempt of court can also potentially face a jail sentence. Adding salt to the wound is the fact that the court can tack on an array of fines ranging from “Failure to Appear” to administrative fines and beyond.
  • Bench warrant: If fines aren’t enough, a judge could potentially issue a warrant for your arrest. Bench warrants are issued for the failure to appear at traffic court on the date in question. They can also be issued for failure to comply with an order issued by the court, such as paying a fine or performing court-mandated community service. If the police pick you up on a bench warrant, there is a good chance you will be forced to stay in jail until your court hearing takes place.
  • Arrest warrant: Arrest warrants, on the other hand, are issued if there is evidence that proves you committed a crime. A police detective or police officer can request such a warrant to be issued, and if the judge grants this request, you can be held in jail until the arraignment takes place.
  • Suspended driver’s license: In addition to the potential for fines and arrest warrants, one consequence you face for not showing up to court is that the judge can suspend your driver’s license. A suspended driver’s license will prove to be a major problem if you are subsequently pulled over.  The police officer will likely arrest you for missing your traffic court date and also for driving while your license is suspended. Furthermore, a suspended license will trigger fees that must be paid for reinstatement. Your auto insurance provider might tack on additional fees as well.

The worst case scenario

Imagine a scenario in which you are too busy with work to attend traffic court, or maybe you simply decide to skip the court date in protest. The traffic court judge might issue a bench warrant to have you arrested. Though this outcome seems like a major overreaction, it happens more often than most people think.

If the violation in question is comparably minor, the police probably won’t actively pursue you. However, even if the police do not pursue you, there will still be a warrant out for your arrest.  If you are subsequently pulled over for another traffic offense such as speeding, the police officer will find the warrant, arrest you and put you in jail.

And if you have a prior record of arrest, or you are found to be guilty of another crime, the penalty could be far more severe than a couple nights in jail.

What to do if you can’t make the scheduled court date

If you are even slightly concerned your busy schedule will prevent you from showing to your scheduled traffic court appearance, don’t simply blow it off and assume everything will be fine.

Be proactive by reaching out to a lawyer at Crescent City Law.  In most cases, a lawyer can appear on your behalf.  

Don’t forget you can always lean on an experienced New Orleans traffic ticket attorney to handle this matter on your behalf. At Crescent City Law, our legal team understands the approaches and strategies most likely to convince the court that a rescheduling of your appearance is absolutely necessary. Furthermore, we will fiercely represent your interest in traffic court with the goal of having your ticket reduced or completely eliminated.

Contact a New Orleans traffic attorney today

If you can’t make your scheduled court date, Crescent City Law can help by representing you in court. And even if you’ve already missed your date, don’t panic.

We can help. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you, or submit your ticket here.

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