Failure to Appear

Definition - What does Failure to Appear mean?

Failure to appear refers to a situation where a person was officially summoned by a court to appear on a certain day and time and that person, for whatever reason, does not appear. In most jurisdictions in the United States, failure to appear is a criminal offence that is punishable by law.

Justipedia explains Failure to Appear

A failure to appear can occur in both a criminal and civil suit. In a criminal suit, if the defendant does not appear for their court date, the presiding judge will almost always issue a bench warrant for that person's arrest. When the person is detained, they will be taken to court in order to deal with the legal issue(s). In a civil case, if the defendant fails to appear in court, a default judgment is usually rendered in favor of the plaintiff. Although failure to appear usually pertains to a defendant in a case, it can affect any person who is summoned by a court.

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