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 The best option is to speak to the lawyers and ask them to help you find it out and have the warrant cancelled or rescinded.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:

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By |2023-10-18T19:08:41+00:00June 17th, 2021|Criminal Defence|

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Excellent5.0 Based on 110 reviews fromNorbert 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 AlyN Aly ★★★★★ 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 :)SAID ALISAID ALI ★★★★★ Igor is an exceptional lawyer! I am very thankful for his excellent professional legal advice and assistance, he was able to drop my S.A charges. Thank you Igor for everything you've done, I really appreciate your services.M AlyM Aly ★★★★★ I was charged with SA, which rarely ever get dropped and generally always go to trial. 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I’ve personally worked with him and I can say with confidence he is a hard working, dedicated, result focused lawyer. Keep up the hard work!Daniel SlobodkinDaniel Slobodkin ★★★★★ I have known Mr. Vilkhov in a professional and personal capacity for several years. Mr. Vilkhov is a well-respected and devoted criminal lawyer who prioritizes the success and livelihood of his clients. Mr. Vilkhov goes out of his way and makes time, at all times of day, to tend to the needs of his clients. Mr. Vilkhov is a diligent lawyer I would recommend to anyone dealing with a criminal matter. Well-spoken, confident, methodical and professional are qualities that only begin to scratch the surface of Mr. Vilkhov's criminal law practice and his character at whole.mike cookmike cook ★★★★★ I can’t say enough good things about my experience with Mr. vilkhov he truly takes pride in his work and did his absolute best to work on my case and get me the best deal I would recommend him to everyone. 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He charged a very reasonable fee which he let me pay in installments. He kept me well informed about my case in every stage. Mr. Vilkhov and Daniel from his team were my constant support. Every message and every phone call was answered.Mr Vilkhov got the charges withdrawn!!! My case was in a jurisdictions were cases like these never get withdrawn. But Mr. Vilkhov gave his best and got the charges withdrawn without any conditions. I cannot thank Vilkhov law professional for giving my life back! Mr. Vilkhov is very knowledgeable and he is the lawyer you need by your side when you need it the most! He wins when you need it the most! Thank you Vilkhov law corporation!Jay ModiJay Modi ★★★★★ Igor and his team exceeded my expectations, efficiently getting all charges dropped in my case. His timely responses, coupled with Daniel's eloquence, made for an exceptional first-time experience with a lawyer. 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I was facing a huge fine which would have devastated me financially for years to come, but with his passionate submission to crown on my behalf he was able to get the fine reduced by 90%. His colleagues he works with are amazing too. Thank you so much for all of your help through this matter Igor! You truely have saved my future. I appreciate it beyond measure! All the best in the future!Akash TyagiAkash Tyagi ★★★★★ Hi all, When i just came to Canada, i got charged with SA, which was a nightmare for me where my so called friends left my side. Then by luck i got to know Mr. Igor and that day changed everything.Being new in a country could cost me a lot but with Igor’s genuine efforts to help me, saved my life.A big thanks to him and god bless him.Must recommended lawyer.Thanks a ton Igor.❤️ted ferreirated ferreira ★★★★★ I met Igor approximately two years ago when we met with him regarding SA charges against our son. 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