When a judge grants you bail after you’ve been charged with a crime, the judge expects that you will return for your court hearings at the specified time and date. Ultimately the entire point of bail in our criminal justice system is to ensure that defendants are held accountable in the court of law.
Regardless of whether or not you believe you are innocent of the crime you’ve been charged with, you cannot skip out on bail or miss your court date without facing serious consequences. Though there are a few valid exceptions, the majority of excuses you might consider using will not help your case in the court of law.
Failure to appear at court on your specified date will result in further charges and you should, therefore, avoid it at all costs. Before we examine the valid reasons for missing your court date, let’s take a look at what will absolutely not be considered valid in the state of Connecticut for missing your hearings.
Unacceptable Excuses for Failing to Appear in Court
- Going to work or school
- Forgetting your court date or running late
- Failure to receive your court date because of a change in residence
- Minor to moderate illness
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Doctor or dentist appointments
As you can see, while some of these reasons might seem justified to you, they will not excuse your absence, and you will likely face legal and financial penalties as a result. While this list is not comprehensive, if you miss your court date, you absolutely must have a very important reason that is recognized by the court.
Acceptable Excuses to Fail to Appear in Court
The judge will not accept 99% of reasons for missing a court appearance, but there are a few valid reasons that may be taken into consideration if…
You Were Not Notified of Your Hearing
One of the most common valid excuses to miss a court hearing is when you were not properly notified of the date within a reasonable amount of time. If the court didn’t send out your date, you can reasonably explain your situation to the judge. If the court makes the error, you have a valid excuse. However, if you’re moving during the time of your court appearance, be sure to update your address as they will send the information to the address they have on file.
You Have a Health or Family Emergency
If you happen to have a family or health emergency and can prove it with documents, the judge will almost certainly take into account your specific situation. If you have a minor cold and don’t appear in court, that will obviously not be considered a valid excuse, but if you are in the hospital for a significant period of time or you can prove that you cannot safely attend your hearing, you can make your case to the judge.
Your Lawyer Has Withdrawn
Lastly, if your legal counsel who worked on your case decides to stop representing your case at the last minute, this is grounds to reschedule your court hearing so that you can have proper legal representation. There is a specific time limit on these types of withdrawals, so if a lawyer gives you a couple of weeks of notice, it’s your responsibility to find a new lawyer before your court date.
Ultimately, you should always aim to make your court hearings as agreed upon under your bail conditions. Failing to report to court will often cause more legal issues, so you should do everything you can to ensure you make your court date.