Many of best Stamford and Norwalk Connecticut criminal defense lawyers and attorneys routinely have clients calling them in a panic because they received a letter or phone call from their local police department, informing them that a bench arrest warrant has been issued for their failure to appear in court under CGS 53a-173.
It’s a misdemeanor charge that will require you to turn yourself in at the local police station in Stamford, Greenwich, Westport or wherever you failed to appear in court in Connecticut. You will be booked, fingerprinted and your mug shot will be taken. To make matters worse, your Stamford or Norwalk Connecticut Failure to Appear arrest report will be published on the internet, possibly causing irreparable damage to your reputation.
So can anything be done to avoid an arrest in Greenwich or Stamford Connecticut for Failure to Appear in the Second Degree?
Yes, it’s possible. And it’s one of Connecticut Superior Court’s best-kept secrets…
Ask any of the top criminal lawyers in Stamford, Norwalk, or Greenwich Connecticut…they can sometimes perform some legal acrobatics and file motions in court that can reverse or “vacate” your Connecticut arrest warrant for Failure to Appear in Court in the Second Degree (or First Degree if your underlying court date was for a felony charge).
You see, one of the key elements of the Connecticut Failure to Appear crime (also called an “FTA” by the courts and prosecutors) is that in order to be guilty, you must willfully fail to appear in court. That means if you tried to get court and were delayed by traffic, a sudden illness that landed you in the hospital, or if you were in jail in another jurisdiction, or if the clerk’s office did not properly notify you of your court date in the mail (by sending your court date to the wrong mailing address), then you may be able to have a court hearing where you can convince a judge to vacate your Connecticut arrest warrant for failure to appear in court before you have to surrender yourself to the police.
Once you receive a letter that there’s an arrest warrant out for you in Connecticut for Failure to Appear in Court, this means that the arrest warrant has likely been entered into law enforcement computer systems in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. This means that any contact with law enforcement could result in your immediate arrest, and if you’re out of state, then you could end up sitting in jail in New York or New Jersey for days until you are extradited to Connecticut. All for not showing up for a court date that you may not have even known about!
Many of the top Greenwich and Stamford Connecticut criminal law firms which regularly deal with Failure to Appear arrests often see FTA arrests of people who don’t show up in court for speeding and cell phone infraction tickets. In some of these infraction ticket cases, people will plead not guilty by mail—then they will move within the state or out of state—but they forget to inform the Connecticut DMV or Superior Court clerk’s office of their new address. Then the court notice comes to their old address and they fail to appear in court. It’s not a willful failure to appear—but it’s one that still results in an arrest in Connecticut.
Bottom line—always notify the DMV when you move. It could save you from a Failure to Appear arrest.
We write often about fighting Connecticut Failure to Appear arrests under CGS 53a-173—especially in cases where the Connecticut criminal court has first mailed you a Bail Commissioner’s Letter. You can follow this link for more on best practices and cost-effective defense-strategies for fighting a Failure to Appear arrest. You can also call any of the experienced criminal lawyers at the Mark Sherman Law Firm today to help you fight your Connecticut Failure to Appear arrest. Our glowing Avvo.com certified former client reviews speak for themselves. Give us a call to discuss your Connecticut FTA / Failure to Appear arrest today. We are available 24/7 at (203) 358-4700.