What is the Failure to Appear on a Felony Offense?
Once someone is facing a federal criminal charge, the individual may be released on bond by the court while the case is pending. If you are being prosecuted federally, then it is important to understand your bond conditions or else you could face additional criminal charges. In most state courts, failing to appear for court generally results in an arrest and the potential revocation of bond. In federal court, failing to appear in court can result in a separate criminal charge.
It is against federal law to fail to appear for a federal criminal court date under 18 USC § 3146. The level of potential punishment for failing to appear depends on the severity of the underlying criminal charge that an individual is facing. The individual will also potentially lose any bond posted that originally secured their pre-trial release. If you are facing a failure to appear on a felony offense, then it is critical to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.
What are the Potential Penalties for Failing to Appear on a Felony Offense?
The potential penalties for failing to appear for a federal criminal charge are dependent on the seriousness of the criminal charge that the individual is being prosecuted for. If an individual misses a court date, including any pretrial hearings, motion hearings, or sentencing dates, then that person is subject to serious penalties. The potential penalties are as follows:
- If the individual is facing a federal criminal felony charge that carries 15 years of prison or more, then failing to appear for a court date can result in up to ten years in federal prison.
- If the individual is facing a federal criminal felony charge that carries 5-15 years, then failing to appear for a court date can result in up to 5 years in federal prison.
- If the individual is facing a federal criminal felony charge that carries up to 2 years in prison, then failing to appear for a court date can result in up to 5 years in federal prison.
It is important to note that any punishment levied for a failure to appear will be added on to any sentence handed down for the underlying criminal charge. This means that the prison time will not run concurrently but will run consecutively. There are also serious punishments for failing to appear on a misdemeanor charge or to testify as a witness.
What are Some Examples of Failing to Appear on a Felony Offense?
Someone is guilty of failing to appear for any non-approved reason. The individual can face serious prison time whether they forgot about the court date or actively were trying to avoid going to court. Make sure to speak to an experienced attorney if you are facing such a charge.
What are Some Common Defenses for Failing to Appear on a Felony Offense?
If you fail to appear for a felony charge, that failure to appear can be excused if there are uncontrolled circumstances that prevented you from appearing or surrendering to the court. It is important to note that you cannot be the cause or contributor to the reason why you were not able to appear, or the excuse will not be honored. You need to talk to a lawyer who has experience with federal criminal cases to find out what your best defense is and what your next steps should be.
In What Court Will Your Case Be Heard?
Cases tried under federal law are prosecuted in federal District Courts across the United States. In Pennsylvania, there are three federal districts. These districts are known as the Central District, Middle District, and Eastern District, and they are based on geographical location. If your failure to appear for a felony case is alleged to have occurred in Central District Court or Eastern District Court in Pennsylvania, then your criminal case will be prosecuted in the same court. Put simply, your case will be heard in the same court where you are facing your underlying federal felony charge.
If you disagree with a decision in a federal district court, then you can seek an appeal to the appropriate appellate court. Appeals from the Middle and Eastern Districts of Pennsylvania are heard in the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The only higher remaining appellate court is the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court specifically chooses the cases it will consider. There is no legal right to be heard in the United States Supreme Court for a case. The Supreme Court chooses cases that are of national interest.
How Hiring an Experienced Attorney Can Help
If you have been charged with a crime such as failing to appear on a felony offense by the federal government, then make sure you have defense counsel who has the appropriate experience to properly help you. It is critical to have experienced legal help who knows how to correctly evaluate your case and determine your best approach. This attorney can also help you decide whether you should go to trial or make a deal with the prosecution. If you have questions, please contact us at the Lento Law Firm right away.
Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm is the Right Choice
If you are being prosecuted for failing to appear on a felony offense, then it is important to speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped people defend countless criminal charges in several jurisdictions. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring the Lento Law Firm is the right choice to help defend your federal case.