Why do you need to show up for your court date?
When you receive a criminal traffic ticket, what usually happens is called a cite and release. This means that you are cited with a violation, and then released. You have technically been arrested, and then you are released with the condition that you later appear in court. An officer could arrest you and take you into custody, but this rarely happens in traffic cases unless the officer is particularly irritated with you. You won’t receive further notice of your court date after you receive your ticket.
What happens when you fail to appear for a court date in your criminal case?
The court will charge you with A.R.S. 13-2506A2, Failure to Appear, a class 2 misdemeanor, and issue a warrant for your arrest. The court will also issue an order to the Arizona MVD to suspend your driving privileges. This can all create a lot of problems for you. If you are pulled over, for example, you could be arrested, your car impounded, and you could be charged with driving on a suspended license, a class 1 misdemeanor. If you have failed to appear for a criminal court date, you definitely want to address it as soon as possible.
How do you deal with a failure to appear charge?
This will vary from court to court. Some courts will quash the warrant and lift the license suspension order upon the filling of a Motion to Quash. Other courts will require the payment of a bond, usually $500, before they will quash the warrant. The idea of the bond is that it will secure your appearance at future court dates. If you fail to appear again, you forfeit the bond. Otherwise, upon the conclusion of your case, your bond will be applied to any fines assessed, and the remainder, if any, will be refunded to you.
Once you have gotten the warrant quashed, you can proceed with your case. Most of the time, your case will be resolved with some sort of plea agreement wherein the failure to appear charge is dismissed.