Can you be charged with failure to appear if you are in the hospital?

My brother is sick and needs to go to the ER but is afraid if they admit him and he is there in the morning and can’t go to court that he will be served with a failure to appear. Is that a possibility?

Asked on November 3, 2011 under Criminal Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is possible that he would be charged with failure to appear, though if his need was accute and it can be proven that he had to go to the hospital for a medical emergency, there is a good chance he could get the charge dismissed or dropped.

The better way to handle this is for your brother to contact the court in advance, and inform the court that is ill or injured and needs to go to the hospital, and can the court therefore please adjourn his appearance for a few days. The court is not obligated to do this, but tends to be receptive when the issue is disclosed in advance and permission is sought ahead of time, rather than having someone simply not show up then try to explain, excuse, or justify it after the fact.


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