Failure to Appear: A.R.S. 13-2506 and 13-2507
“Failure to Appear” (FTA) is a legal term used to describe when an individual fails to show up to a scheduled court date for a criminal offense. The severity of the penalties involved depends upon whether the charges involved were misdemeanors or felony offenses. Failure to appear can cause a judge to issue a bench warrant for a defendant’s arrest, which courts often abbreviate to the “FTA” acronym.
Failure to Appear in the Second Degree
According to A.R.S. 13-2506, a person commits failure to appear in the second degree for either:
- Knowingly failing to appear in court as required by law in connection with any misdemeanor or petty offense, regardless of the disposition of the charge requiring the appearance.
- This is a class 1 misdemeanor, which can result in up to 6 months of incarceration.
- Failing to appear in court, personally or by counsel, following a written promise to appear in court or after having been personally served with a written notice to appear in court on a designated date.
- This is a class 2 misdemeanor, which can result in up to 4 months of incarceration.
Failure to Appear in the First Degree
According to A.R.S. 13-2507, a person commits failure to appear in the first degree if, having been required by law to appear in connection with any felony, such person knowingly fails to appear as required, regardless of the disposition of the charge requiring the appearance.
This is a class 5 felony, for which a first-time offender can be incarcerated for up to 2.5 years.
Bench Warrants for Failure to Appear
When a defendant fails to appear for a court date, the judge can issue a bench warrant, which can stay in effect until the defendant turns themselves in or is arrested.
A defense lawyer may be able to request a judge quash (cancel) a warrant if there are sufficient reasons the warrant should be dismissed. If the judge agrees, the defendant will need to pay a bond amount to quash the warrant.
The ways in which an individual can look up whether or not they have any current warrants may be found here. When looking at pending charges in public records, a failure to appear can be shortened to the common abbreviation of FTA.
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