When you are released on bail by a judge for a crime, be it a misdemeanor or a felony, you will be given notice as to when to next appear in court. If you don't show up to that court date, it is possible that the judge could issue a bench warrant for your arrest. You typically have 30 days to appear after a missed court date before a judge will issue the warrant.
If you have missed your court date and there is now a bench warrant out for your arrest, how can you possibly prevent going to jail? Well, if you have a legitimate reason for missing court such as a serious illness or car accident, there might be a way to avoid jail time.
If you were involved in a serious car accident or at least one in which you could not possibly get to your court date on time, it's possible you won't be issued a bench warrant. If you are able to obtain dashcam footage of the accident, police reports and witness statements to give your lawyer to show the judge, you may have reason enough to avoid going to jail.
If you were injured during the accident or someone you know was, you can provide proof that you were unable to attend through medical records and police statements.
Along similar lines, if your car broke down on the way to your court date, and there were no other means to get to the court, such as Uber, taxi or bus in the area, you could avoid jail time.
You Were Hospitalized
If you were hospitalized at the time of your court date, you will have proof that you couldn't go to court for your hearing. You will have to obtain, upon your release, your release papers, hospital records or medical records and even a doctor's statement saying you were in the hospital at the time and could not attend court.
It may be possible that if your child, spouse or other family member is also hospitalized at the time of your court appearance and you needed to be with them, that you could avoid jail time by providing proof of this as well.
Death In the Family
If a family member has died when you are expected to attend court, you may be able to avoid jail time. You can provide proof of illness, death and/ the funeral attendance should it have occurred at the time of your court date.
To prove this, you can provide hospital records, a coroner's report – should you have one, or the funeral home can provide a statement as well.
Speak to a criminal lawyer for more help.