What happens if I miss my criminal court date in Massachusetts?

The short answer is that likely a warrant has been issued for your arrest.  That may, however, sound scarier than it is.  Usually, your mistake is correctable if handled correctly and thoroughly.   There are many factors which will ultimately determine what consequence, if any, there will be for you missing your court date.  Ultimately, a District Attorney and/or Judge will consider an unlimited amount of factors when deciding upon how to handle your missed court date.  Factors include but are not limited to: the reason(s) why you missed the court date and proof thereof, when you attempt to address the default/warrant/missed court date, what your prior record consists of, what the charges are, what your work, family and medical status is and, really, almost an infinite amount of factors that may be unique to  you and your case.

It is critical, when you do decide to go to the court to remove the warrant/resurrect the case, that you come in as prepared as you possibly can be.  This could be the difference between having the case dismissed that day, having the pendency of the case handled with you in custody or having the pendency of the case handled with you at home.

It is always a good idea to have the police report in hand and analyzed prior to going into court. This will help you address potential concerns or questions that a District Attorney and/or a Judge may have concerning your case.  If you get in front of and are prepared for these questions, it will likely prove to make a very important difference in how the case is handled.

In some instances, you may have an open case in Massachusetts, but now be located out of the State or even the Country.  It is possible, in many instances, to attempt to have your warrant removed via Zoom or otherwise virtually, and not even have to appear in person to do so.  Of course, this will also depend on many factors, but our firm has been able to accomplish such feats on many occasions.

Usually, while it may be a scary or stressful scenario to have a warrant hanging over your head, the sooner you deal with it head on, the better. The courts appreciate you trying your best to rectify a mistake and for you to  “come clean” or “face the music”.  It is a far better scenario than if you are dragged into court by the police because they arrested you on the warrant. In that way, the usual best argument that you are coming into court voluntarily is unusable.

If you missed a court date or have a warrant, please feel free to call us at any time (617-492-3000) to go over your options and help decide on the best course for you.

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