Track Record of Having Charges Reduced and Dismissed

Affordable Payment Plans & Free Consultations

Experience and Trust

Missing a Court Date, Failure to Appear, and Contempt of Court in Texas

No matter what the nature of the case against you, your day in court is a right guaranteed under the Constitution. At this trial you’ll be able to face an impartial judge or jury and present the facts and evidence that demonstrate your innocence. But that only happens if you show up.

Failure to appear on your court date, disrespecting the court system and disrupting the proceedings, doesn’t just hurt your chances of a favorable outcome. It can have consequences far beyond the charges you’re already facing. The judge in your case can issue a bench warrant calling for your arrest, seize your bond, and even issue additional criminal charges.

Bench Warrant

A bench warrant takes its name from the fact that a judge issues the warrant directly (from the “bench”), rather than basing it on criminal evidence as they do in issuing an arrest warrant. Under Texas law, a bench warrant is issued when a defendant fails to appear on their assigned date and time for court, authorizing police to arrest you. This arrest can happen at any moment – at your home, at your job, even during a traffic stop. The safest way to find out for sure if a bench warrant has been issued is to have an attorney check on your behalf. While shielding you from arrest, they can check with law enforcement, the courts, or the county clerk for any outstanding bench warrants.

It’s important to note that bench warrants do not expire, and can even lead to incarceration depending on the nature of the original charges. The longer the bench warrant is active, the greater the consequences once you are apprehended.

Forfeiture of Bond

The money paid at the time of the initial arrest, the bond is a financial restraint that the court can use to ensure you show up at court. When you fail to appear, the bondsman who holds your bond will have around a week to locate you – either by themselves or with the help of a bounty hunter – before they lose that money and the court issues a bench warrant.

Further Consequences

Beyond issuing a bench warrant and causing you to forfeit your bond, the court has additional consequences it can issue based on the nature of the original charges. While it’s at the discretion of the judge, under Texas law these consequences are usually:

  • • Failing to appear for traffic violations: Class C misdemeanor, carrying a fine up to $500 and possible license suspension or revocation.
  • • For bail jumping on misdemeanors: Class A misdemeanor, carrying jail time of up to a year and a $4,000 fine.
  • • For bail jumping on felonies: Third-degree felony with jail time from 2-10 years and up to $10,000 in fines.


You Can Defend Yourself

While the court will be quick to take action against you when you fail to appear, there are myriad reasons why you may have missed your court date. You may have not been properly notified, either because the court summons was lost in the mail or contained inaccurate information. You or a family member may have experienced a medical emergency, requiring immediate hospitalization. It’s even possible to miss a court date due to a separate, unrelated incarceration.

Whatever your reasons, if you suspect that a bench warrant has been issued for you, time is of the essence and finding an experienced attorney is vital. Their expertise can help expedite any arrest the court deems necessary, and they can help illustrate the reasons behind your absence. At every step, an attorney will be an incredible asset for smoothly navigating the legal process and protecting your rights and interests.

Start by requesting a free, no-obligation case evaluation from Our legal professionals are standing by 24 hours a day to help.


Call 1 (866) 875-5996 or Schedule a Free Case Evaluation Online

Contact Us

Scroll Back to Top