In: Criminal Defense

Why A Notice to Appear Should Be Taken Seriously

Sometimes, an encounter with the police will result in the officer issuing a notice to appear. The notice will identify a time, date, and location at which the person to whom the notice was issued must appear before a judge. If an officer has recently issued you a notice to appear, you may be wondering just how much trouble you are really in. After all, your encounter did not result in an arrest, so how bad can it really be?

It’s important to understand that just like any other involvement with the criminal justice system, your notice to appear should be taken extremely seriously. First of all, if you do not show up at your court date, it’s likely that the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest and you will be charged with the separate offense of failure to appear.

When there is a warrant out for your arrest, it can be executed at any time. For example, if you run a stop sign on your way to work and are pulled over while there is a warrant out for your arrest, you will likely be arrested and miss an entire day of work, potentially resulting in problems with your employer. In fact, the police could very well show up at your job and lead you out in handcuffs in front of your colleagues and coworkers.

Secondly, it’s critical that you deal with the underlying issue that resulted in your notice to appear. Any criminal offense can result in legal penalties like jail time, fines, probation, mandatory counseling, and community service. In addition, a criminal conviction can result in collateral consequences that can affect you for the rest of your life. These collateral consequences are often much more serious than the potential legal consequences of an offense, and can include the following:

  • Difficulty finding a job
  • Problems renting an apartment
  • Academic sanctions, including denial of admission to the college or university of your choice
  • Damage to your reputation in your community

Fortunately, there are many ways that an attorney can help you deal with a notice to appear. For instance, if the police made any mistakes or violated your rights while they were talking to you, your lawyer may be able to get the charges against you dropped or dismissed. In addition, your lawyer may be able to take your case to trial and obtain an acquittal. Finally, even if the case against you is strong, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a favorable plea bargain with the prosecutor to protect your criminal record and future.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Denton Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have received a notice to appear, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Brent D. Bowen is dedicated to helping protect the rights of the accused. To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer, call our office today at (940) 222-2488 or send us an email through our online contact form.