What are the consequences of missing a court date?
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In Alberta, missing a court date is followed by serious consequences. If you miss a court date the judge can do several things. In some cases the judge may decide to issue a warrant to hold and put your matter over to another date. In that case, if you don’t show up on that date then the warrant would be “released” and would turn into a full warrant to arrest.
However, typically what would happen is the judge would order a full arrest warrant. That means that a document is produced which says that you are arrestable for missing court. The police could then “execute” the warrant, meaning they would arrest you.
Missing a court date may also affect future judgements related to your case such as being granted bail. If you have a history of not showing up to court and commit a further offence the judge would essentially look at that past history and may deny your release on new charges if they do not believe that you will show up for court on the new charges.
Not only will a warrant issue for your arrest if you fail to appear for court, but you will also be charged with the new offence for failing to appear in court, which is covered under section 145(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
What if I have an excuse for why I didn’t show up in court?
Not showing up to court may be something that was unavoidable. In that case, the law says that if you have a “lawful excuse” as to why you did not show up for court, then the charge of failing to attend court may be dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the court.
For example, it would be considered a lawful excuse if you were in the hospital on the date you were required to attend court and you were able to provide the court with proper documentation to establish that. Generally speaking, it is incumbent upon you to ensure that you mark your calendar for court and arrive on time to avoid any issues.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I MISS MORE THAN ONE COURT DATE?
If you miss more than one court date a warrant for your arrest will be issued and you will be charged under section 145(2) of the Criminal Code for Failing to Attend Court.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I MISS A COURT DATE?
The best thing to do if you miss a court date is contact a criminal defence lawyer. A lawyer can find out if a warrant has been issued or find out when your next court date is scheduled for. It is also important to hold onto any documentation such as medical notes that may help support your reason for not being able to attend court.