Failure To Appear For Fingerprintable Charge: Meaning, Penalty and FAQs

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Melody Merit

Failure to appear for a fingerprintable charge refers to a situation where an individual does not show up for a scheduled court appearance or hearing related to a criminal charge that requires fingerprinting. Let’s break down this concept more comprehensively:

1. Criminal Charges: 

When someone is arrested or charged with a crime, it typically falls into two categories: fingerprintable and non-fingerprintable charges. Fingerprintable charges are more serious offenses, such as felonies or certain misdemeanors, that involve the collection of fingerprints and other personal identification information during the booking process.

2. Court Appearance:

After being charged with a fingerprintable offense, the accused person is typically required to appear in court for various proceedings, including arraignment, pre-trial hearings, or the actual trial. These court appearances are crucial parts of the legal process to ensure the accused’s rights are protected and to determine the outcome of the case.

3. Failure to Appear:

“Failure to appear” occurs when the accused individual, who has been summoned by the court, does not attend the scheduled court date or hearing. This can happen for various reasons, including forgetfulness, fear, or deliberate avoidance.

4. Legal Consequences:

Failing to appear for a fingerprintable charge can have serious legal consequences. These consequences may include:

   – Warrant for Arrest: The court may issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the individual who failed to appear. This means that law enforcement can actively search for and arrest the person.

   – Forfeiture of Bail: If the accused had posted bail to secure their release from custody before trial, their bail may be forfeited, resulting in a financial loss.

   – Additional Charges: In some jurisdictions, failure to appear can result in new criminal charges, such as “Failure to Appear” or “Contempt of Court.”

   – Complicating the Case: Failing to appear can complicate the underlying criminal case and may be considered as evidence against the accused in court.

   – Loss of Rights: The accused may lose certain legal rights, including the right to defend themselves in court if they continue to evade the legal process.

5. Resolving the Issue: 

To address a failure to appear, it is essential for the individual to contact their attorney and the court promptly. Legal counsel can help navigate the situation and work towards a resolution, such as rescheduling the court appearance or explaining the reasons for missing the initial date.

In summary, a failure to appear for a fingerprintable charge is a serious matter that can lead to significant legal consequences. It’s crucial for individuals facing such charges to consult with legal professionals and address the issue promptly to avoid further complications in their case.


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Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What Are Examples of Fingerprintable Charges?

Fingerprintable charges typically involve more serious criminal offenses. Examples include felonies like murder, robbery, and sexual assault, as well as certain misdemeanors such as domestic violence or drug possession. These charges require fingerprinting to establish a person’s identity and criminal record accurately.

2. Can I Face Penalties if I Miss a Court Date Due to a Legitimate Reason?

In some cases, if you have a legitimate reason for missing a court date, such as a medical emergency or unavoidable circumstances, you may be able to explain your situation to the court. It’s crucial to contact your attorney as soon as possible to document the reasons for your absence and request a rescheduled court appearance. The court will evaluate the validity of your excuse.

3. How Can I Avoid a Bench Warrant for Failure to Appear?

To avoid a bench warrant, it’s essential to attend all scheduled court appearances. If you anticipate any challenges that may prevent you from attending, inform your attorney immediately. They can help you request a rescheduled date or provide guidance on how to address the situation appropriately.

4. What Happens If I’m Arrested on a Bench Warrant for Failure to Appear?

If a bench warrant is issued for your arrest due to failure to appear, law enforcement can apprehend you at any time. Once arrested, you may be held in custody until the next court appearance. It’s advisable to have an attorney ready to represent you and advocate for your release on bail if applicable.

5. Can Failure to Appear Affect My Future?

Yes, failure to appear for a fingerprintable charge can have lasting consequences beyond the immediate legal issues. It can negatively impact your criminal record, making it harder to secure employment, housing, or obtain loans in the future. It may also affect your credibility in court if you do eventually face trial for the underlying charge.

In conclusion, understanding the implications of failure to appear for a fingerprintable charge is crucial for anyone involved in the criminal justice system. It’s essential to prioritize attending court appearances and seek legal guidance if you encounter difficulties that may prevent you from doing so. Being informed and proactive can help minimize the potential repercussions of such a situation.

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