Court Appearance, The Law Office of Thomas C. Thomasian, Esq

What Happens If I Fail to Appear for My Court Hearing?

After you get arrested in Rhode Island and after the prosecution brings formal criminal charges, a court hearing—also known as arraignment—will be scheduled. After arrest, you will either be released with a “Summons to Appear” in court or the police will contact a Bail Commissioner and conduct the arraignment at the police station, depending on your criminal history and the circumstances of your case.

A Summons to Appear is a written notice that states your first appearance in District Court. The notice also includes your name, the police department responsible for your arrest, the charges against you, and the date, time, and location of your hearing.

What Happens if I Fail to Appear in Court?

If you fail to appear at the arraignment, you may be charged with "failure to appear" and the District Court judge will issue a bench warrant out for your arrest.

A bench warrant can be issued when a person fails to pay a court-ordered fine, fails to complete community service, or violates probation. A bench warrant enables the police to take you into custody and bring you before a judge to address your missed court date. You can be held in jail until the court schedule a hearing.

Additionally, if you are found guilty of failure to appear or contempt of court, the judge can impose fines or a jail sentence. Failure to appear can also lead to the suspension of your driver’s license and changes in your conditions of release to impose a bond.

If you believe there is a bench warrant out for your arrest, you must contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Attorney Thomas Thomasian can evaluate your case, determine your legal options, and even help you voluntarily surrender in court by negotiating bail terms and securing release conditions once the warrant is vacated.

Remember, you can appear in two ways: get arrested and involuntarily taken to court or appear at your own will. The latter is preferable.

For more information, contact The Law Office of Thomas C. Thomasian, Esq. today at (401) 312-4385