What Happens if You Fail to Appear in Court

 Table of Contents:

Every time you have to show up in court for a hearing, for example, when you have a family matter, traffic violation charges, or criminal charges, you should take it very seriously. The failure to appear in court in Canada not only makes it more difficult to prove your case but also leads to additional criminal charges. As a consequence, you can be arrested and might be sentenced up to 2 years in prison.

Those who cannot show up in court or might have already missed their court date need to speak to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to choose the best defence strategy. Here is a general overview of what will happen if you fail to appear in court and what you can do to manage the consequences.

What Happens if You Fail to Appear in Court in Ontario?

In a general case, if you fail to appear in court in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada, there will be two possible scenarios. The judge will either order a bench warrant, which will lead to your arrest or will issue a discretionary bench warrant, adjourning the hearing to another day. In the latter case, you will not be detained the first time you fail to show up at your scheduled court date but will be arrested if it happens again.

In any case, you will need to know if there is a bench warrant against you. The best option is to speak to the lawyers and ask them to help you find it out and have the warrant cancelled or rescinded.

Another strategy would be to call the courthouse directly, speak to the clerk and try to cancel the warrant. You may also choose to go to court and try to settle this issue in person. However, in the latter case, there is a high chance that you will be arrested at the courthouse and held in custody for a bail hearing.

Failure to Appear in Family Court

Hearings in the Family Court are never easy, and failure to show up in the courtroom at the specified date only makes things worse. It is barely possible to win the case in your absence, and it will be even harder to challenge the decision of the court in this situation.

Judges have several options in case you don’t go for a hearing on a family matter. They can dismiss the proceedings, strike the claim, make an interim or final order, and even start contempt proceedings. Finally, a failure to appear in the Family Court may also render you liable to arrest and imprisonment.

Failure to Appear in Traffic Court

When you get a traffic ticket in Canada with a specified penalty amount, you have two options. You can either pay the penalty before the court date or go the court for a hearing.

Paying the fine is equivalent to pleading guilty, which relieves you of the necessity to show up at the court date. Meanwhile, if you choose not to pay and fail to appear, the judge can issue a warrant for your arrest.

Failure to Appear in Court for Criminal Charges

If you fail to attend court for criminal charges, it can be one of the worst scenarios. It will not only lead to arrest but also will make it harder to be released on bail. Instead, those who face criminal charges in Canada and are absolutely unable to appear on the court date should consider an opportunity to ask for an adjourned hearing to avoid liability.

Those interested in adjourning their criminal case should speak to experienced criminal lawyers in Toronto first to find if their case is tried summarily or by indictment. In the former case, there are good chances that the court may grant such a request and postpone the hearing for a later date. Meanwhile, adjourning the hearing for an indictable offence is much more complicated and not always advisable.

Lawful Excuse for Failure to Attend Court or Appear

Those who have missed their court date should have very good reasons for that to avoid criminal charges for failing to appear. Any court hearing takes not only your time but also the time of the judge, the clerk and the resources of the court system. For this reason, judges view failure to attend very seriously and consider it disrespectful toward the court.

Thus, an excuse for failure to show up at the court date for such reasons as, for example, common cold, school, work, or family situation would not be accepted. The only lawful excuses for failure to appear, which could be considered by the judge, include confirmed hospitalization or arrest.

What to Do if You Cannot Appear in Court?

There are various life situations when you can fail to show up at the court date. The good news is that, in some cases, you can send someone to the court to act for you or have the hearing rescheduled for a later date without getting a bench warrant.

Although you can ask a family member or a friend to act as your agent in a summary trial case, it is not the best solution. You will need to involve an experienced criminal lawyer to ensure professional legal representation and help you avoid arrest in case you fail to attend.

What Will Happen If You Have Already Missed Your Court Date?

If you failed to appear on your court date, in most situations, you would have a bench warrant directing police to arrest you. The police will either pick you up and make an arrest or detain you when you turn in to the station. You can find whether there is a bench warrant against you by calling the court or by asking your lawyer to do it for you.

If the court has already issued a bench warrant, you should arrange for turning yourself in to police. It is better to turn in yourself than wait until the police pick you up.

When you arrange to turn yourself in on the warrant, it is advisable to write down important phone numbers because your cell phone can be taken. It is also recommended to avoid bringing personal property that you are not prepared to leave with the police. You can ask someone to give you a ride to the station instead of taking your car to avoid arranging its pickup if you are not released.

Ask for Immediate Legal Assistance

If you failed to appear in court in Canada or got a bench warrant, you need to get in touch with a lawyer immediately. Contact Vilkhov Law in Toronto at 647-977-5852 or send us your details using the contact form, and our criminal defence team will be there to assist you.

If you need legal support, contact Vilkhov Law for a free consultation:

Criminal Lawyer in Toronto
Criminal Lawyer in Etobicoke
Criminal Lawyer in Scarborough
Criminal Lawyer in Newmarket
Criminal Lawyer in Brampton
Criminal Lawyer in Mississauga

By |2024-04-04T13:52:24+00:00March 25th, 2024|Criminal Defence|

4.9/5 - (17 votes)

Criminal Lawyers Association
Toronnto Lawyers Association
Law Society of Ontario
Criminal Lawyers Association
Toronnto Lawyers Association
Law Society of Ontario
Excellent5.0 Based on 125 reviews fromJessie TeixeiraJessie Teixeira ★★★★★ I would like to thank Igor Vilkhov and his dedicated team for their professional assistance in dealing with my matter. I could not be happier about the way my matter was handled and am very satisfied with the result.Annabella FusaroAnnabella Fusaro ★★★★★ Igor Vilkhov was an amazing Lawyer. I met him through one of his colleagues and one thing I can say he fights for your rights and he doesn’t amazing job. He was so patient and kind with me. I’m very grateful for the outcome of my case. May god bless Igor And the amazing work he does.AnnabellaXuan LinXuan Lin ★★★★★ Hello my name is Leon I got charged with SA in 2021 in relation to a young complainant. I have been looking about 10 lawyer all of then is bad and lie all they care is money never help my case .Until I meet Igor I told him what happened he told me no worry he will try his best for help me . And this year May I won the case I just can't believe it Igor is best lawyer he is legendary . Guy you should believe in Igor he is really good. His preparation was meticulous and was acquitted. He saved my life.ChrisChris ★★★★★ The Best Lawyer In my opinion. A legal Tactician in the modern day criminal justice court systems. Very professional service. Great Techniques and Extremely knowledgable and Highly talented and recommended team.I’m 37 old Newfoundlander who is not well spoken but this was an easy to write.Nikolai Wheeler-BalazevNikolai Wheeler-Balazev ★★★★★ I want to start off this review by thanking Mr.Vilkhov for handling my case, Igor got my case resolved in a timely manor, i had previously been going to court for my case for about a year, and when i had gotten Mr.Vilkhov as my lawyer he had my case resolved and all my charges withdrawn in a matter of days. If anybody is looking for a lawyer i would urge you to go with Mr.Vilkhov, he knows what he is doing and knows how to do it quickly.Shannan HarrisonShannan Harrison ★★★★★ Mr. Vilkhov is an outstanding lawyer, I just avoided a lengthy jail sentence because of him. I literally cannot believe what he was able to do for me. The judge in court praised him for his work, thank you so much.Anoop RAnoop R ★★★★★ One of the best law firms in town! Highly recommended. Just retain them. They'll do the rest.ARRARR ★★★★★ I was falsely accused and charged with a serious offence. All it took was just one phone call from the complainant. As an immigrant, it was a nightmare. Fortunately Igor was the first person whom I contacted and I knew he was the one and I retained him. Beware of the lawyers who try to scare you, make you feel insecure. From the first phone call, he never made me feel insecure. He was confident that he can get the work done. Igor and Daniel promptly attended all my court dates. It took a while to achieve the resolution and finally my case was unconditionally withdrawn. I can't thank him enough. As Igor is a busy person, I was getting updates regularly from Daniel. I would give six stars to Daniel. Igor should never let him go. I would definitely recommend this law firm. You might sometimes feel that Igor is late in responding, but he'll be putting all his efforts behind the scene. Just have faith in him. I wish Igor and Daniel all the best.Brandon ABrandon A ★★★★★ Igor was fantastic to work with. He was always very quick to respond and answered any questions I had at any time during the process. I'm so impressed for his amazing and efficient work - he was able to have any charges against me dropped. I highly recommend Igor to anybody that's currently facing legal trouble. He truly exceeded my expectations and I'm so grateful for everything. Thank you Igor!Maria AgasMaria Agas ★★★★★ I was very impressed with his professionalism, swift responses and attention to detail. He was proactive and always communicated next steps. I’m so happy we came across Igor and his team. Igor is amazing and wonderful lawyer.Cindy LiCindy Li ★★★★★ I cannot express my gratitude enough for the exceptional legal representation provided by Igor. Facing wrongful accusations was a harrowing experience, but Igor's expertise and dedication swiftly turned the tide in my favor. He navigated the complexities of the case with professionalism, demonstrating remarkable intelligence and a deep understanding of the legal system. Thanks to his efforts, the charges were withdrawn in a timely manner, allowing me to move forward with my life. Igor is not just a good lawyer; he is an outstanding advocate for his clients. I wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of top-notch legal assistance.George ArellanoGeorge Arellano ★★★★★ Mr. Vilkhov got my charges withdrawn today after a very stressful time in my life. I hired him because of his reviews and I am not surprised that I got this result. I appreciate him and his team. Igor literally dedicates his entire life for his clients.Latch RamoutarLatch Ramoutar ★★★★★ I am sitting here at 10 Armoury street after my charges were just withdrawn. I cannot thank Igor enough for what he has done for me. This was supposed to be a trial where I was facing a ten year jail sentence. Somehow Igor got my charges dropped. This man is the lawyer you need, hands down. Also a very nice person.Emad MEmad M ★★★★★ Do not blink! Go with him.I know for stressful this process might be an how awful law system might be treating you, also how difficult it might be to trust someone with your “life”.Igor knows what he is doing and he saved my partner and I from false accusations of a jealous individual!He didn’t over charge, he didn’t hold back on any help a lawyer could possibly provide.This man is the best saviour one can ask for in these situations.Christa DuchenoChrista Ducheno ★★★★★ No kidding, if you need an attorney and You want the Best lawyer to defend you and your rights in the legal system I’d definitely recommend you call Igor Vilkhov.I am completely and gratefully satisfied with His professional guidance, knowledge of the complex legal system and most of all for saving my life. I give Igor and his Team my hands heart shout out Thank You for your dedication, I couldn’t have gotten through it without Y’all.Stephanie SchembriStephanie Schembri ★★★★★ Mr.Vilkhov thank you for keeping our family together we are forever gratefulAndreyAndrey ★★★★★ Highly recommend. Fast and reasonableRajveer SinghRajveer Singh ★★★★★ WaheguruKathryn GilfoyKathryn Gilfoy ★★★★★ john la magnajohn la magna ★★★★★ I had a great experience with Vilkhov Law. Igor was professional, efficient, and made my very stressful first endeavour into needing legal council as much of a breeze as it could have been.He was also very patient with me as a first time offender with way too many questions.I highly recommended Igor, and his team at Vilkhov Law!Norbert WysockiNorbert Wysocki ★★★★★ Igor and his team provided excellent service in very delicate and emotional case. They were extremely supporting and knowledgeable. Thank you for everything you have done!Jason WorthJason Worth ★★★★★ Words cannot describe what Igor has done for me. Igor is the most skilled and amazing attorney I have ever met in my entire life. I had a long list of charges (some that carried some serious penitentiary time) and worked some serious magic with countless hours behind the scenes for me to make just 1 appearance and have ALL THE CHARGES WITHDRAWN and a peace bond put in place. The timeframe for it was amazing as well he took care of me and this situation in only 15 months! (we all know the justice system does not work that fast normally!) If you want a very highly skilled, passionate, available(Igor would take calls and messages even after normal hours to fill me in!), experienced and dedicated attorney that will work tirelssly with you and for you to get you the absolute best results then Igor is your man! 5 stars does not do this man justice he deserves 100 stars!N -N - ★★★★★ Great lawyer. Knowledgeable and helpful. 10/10 would recommend :)GLORIS SPENCEGLORIS SPENCE ★★★★★ Working with Igor and his team during a very unpleasant situation has been a blessing. Even though the legal process was a lengthy one, they were there to answer the questions and concerns we had.Thankfully, it's all over and settled and hopefully we'll not need his services again, but it is reassuring to know that if the situation should every arise where legal counsel is needed, Vilkhov Law Professional will be there in my corner.Thank you.Scott K.Scott K. ★★★★★ I would like to give Igor 5 stars for handling my serious case for the last 11 months of my life. In December 2022, I was wrongfully accused of 2 serious charges under my name however, Igor took care of it from the beginning and finally all of those wrongful charges are withdrawn and now I feel much better and at ease. I am very glad that Igor could help me throughout the hard process and bring out the best result possible! Also, what I want to pinpoint out for the most is that he picks up the call by himself and you get to contact directly with him whenever you have questions or want updates throughout the process. I know that it could be tiring for lawyers who have other clients at the moment but Igor always keep a close contact with his client and I was always able to talk to him directly when I needed for the last 11 months. At last, I wish all the best for Igor and hope that god blesses throughout his career and may he be able to offer his professionalism to help other people in need. Thank you Igor :)js_loader


“Caring, honest, and highly knowledgeable.”

Contact Igor for a Free Consultation!

Please contact us online for a free consultation.
Go to Top