It is an offence to fail to appear at Court when you are required to do so. If you do not attend Court in accordance with your Notice to Appear, Complaint and Summons or Bail Undertaking, a warrant may issue for your arrest. You may also be charged with the offence of failure to appear.
What if I couldn’t go to Court when I was supposed to?
You will have the opportunity to explain why you did not attend Court when you were supposed to. If you have a genuine reason for being unable to attend, you may be able to “show cause” as to why you failed to appear.
You should provide evidence to the Court as to why you were not able to attend. For example, if you were too ill to attend, you should obtain a medical certificate from your treating practitioner stating that you were not able to appear on the relevant date.
If you are able to show cause as to why you did not attend, the Court will not take further action against you.
What are the penalties for failing to appear?
If you are not able to show cause as to why you did not attend Court, or do not have any reason to have missed Court, you will be charged with failing to appear.
The maximum penalty for failing to appear is a fine of 40 penalty units (currently equating to $5,046.00) or a period of imprisonment of 2 years.
In addition to the penalties available to the Court, a conviction for failing to appear may impact your bail undertaking. In some circumstances, you may be considered an unacceptable risk of failing to appear and your bail may be revoked.
Do I need to see a lawyer?
It is important that you seek legal advice if you have missed a Court date. Your lawyer will be able to discuss with you the process for surrendering into custody, and the potential impact on your matter.