Going to court is not a fun process in the United States. Yet, more people than you might think have to appear, with there being over 93,000 criminal defendant filings in US courts per year.
Every state has different laws, and North Carolina is no exception. One question that might come up if you are new to the court of law is what happens if you do not show up to court as a defendant?
Is failure to appear a felony? This is your guide to find out the answer to that question.
Type of Crime
The first factor for whether failure to appear is a felony, is the type of crime that you were being charged for.
When it comes to the US court, you usually go for either a criminal case or a civil case. For the latter, if you fail to appear in North Carolina, you are basically just dropping the case or forfeiting the case, and it is unlikely that there would be criminal charges against you for that, let alone a felony.
Then, there are criminal cases, and failing to appear for this type of case can be more serious in North Carolina depending on what you are being charged with.
For example, if the case is related to a vehicle or something that you did with a vehicle, then you have 20 days to appear in court from the date that you were originally scheduled to do so. If you do not appear by then, then the DMV would be notified and they would revoke your license until you showed up.
Another situation would be if the original case that you were charged with was a misdemeanor or not.
If so, if you do not show up to court, the court would treat it as possible contempt, and issue a new order for arrest, and make sure that you do not flea the area again once you come back into a court of law. Plus, you would be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor.
This is usually related to any crime that involves alcohol, such as a DUI, DWI, driving under 21, or more serious acts committed while drinking, such as injury or manslaughter.
Regardless of the type of case in this category, if you do not show up to court, you would likely get charged with a Class I misdemeanor. This action would take place two years after the scheduled court date that you initially had.
In North Carolina, this type of misdemeanor carries a maximum of 120 days in jail, and there is a small fine usually attached to this.
Now, you are looking at the most serious types of crimes to evade a court of law. Failure to appear in court for this type of case is a Class I felony.
Of course, there are many different levels of felonies, so these may not all carry the exact same penalty. But, some examples of crimes that would likely be looked at as felonies include:
- possession of marijuana
- breaking and entering a motor vehicle
- hit and run with injuries
- larceny over $1,000
- assault with a deadly weapon
- child abuse
Of course, there are a lot more crimes that can fit this category, but you get the idea. If you do not show up to court while you are being charged with one of these cases, then you will have an additional Class I felony charged against you and a warrant out for your arrest.
Another situation where you can get charged with a felony for failure to appear is if you have already been convicted in any case in a superior court in which you were expected to receive a jail sentence.
These types of cases are usually less serious criminal cases. However, if you skipped your appearance for a less serious case with a minor sentence, you could be doing yourself a disservice and adding a much bigger burden on yourself.
In that situation, you could possibly go from being charged with a minor misdemeanor to being charged with a Class I felony, while also increasing your jail sentence and increasing the rate of your bail bond.
Bail Bonds and Penalties
With the above information, you need to understand what kind of penalties and bail bond burdens you might be facing if you didn’t show up to your court case. These penalties would all be in addition to what you are already facing, rather than included.
The least serious type of failure to appear is a Class 2 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail. As stated above, a Class 1 misdemeanor has a maximum penalty of 120 days in jail.
But, what about Class I felonies? They carry a maximum penalty of 24 months, however, a range of 3-8 months may be more realistic for this case depending on your situation and if you are a first-time offender.
If there was a bail bond attached to this, then the person who signed it would lose any collateral that they might have offered, whether it was cash or another asset. If you show up to court, then you would just have to have a premium payment (up to the bondsman rather than the full amount).
Is Failure to Appear a Felony?
Is failure to appear a felony? The short answer is that it can be depending on your circumstances. Normally, it would be a felony if you were charged with a felony or if you have been convicted of a crime already.
If not, then it would just be a misdemeanor. This is why it is important to appear in court, to save yourself and your loved ones the time, trouble, and money that skipping causes.
Do you or a loved one need bail? Contact us today to find out more.