Can you be charged with failure to appear if you are in the hospital?

UPDATED: Nov 3, 2011

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Can you be charged with failure to appear if you are in the hospital?

My brother is sick and needs to go to the ER but is afraid if they admit him and he is there in the morning and can’t go to court that he will be served with a failure to appear. Is that a possibility?

Asked on November 3, 2011 under Criminal Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is possible that he would be charged with failure to appear, though if his need was accute and it can be proven that he had to go to the hospital for a medical emergency, there is a good chance he could get the charge dismissed or dropped.

The better way to handle this is for your brother to contact the court in advance, and inform the court that is ill or injured and needs to go to the hospital, and can the court therefore please adjourn his appearance for a few days. The court is not obligated to do this, but tends to be receptive when the issue is disclosed in advance and permission is sought ahead of time, rather than having someone simply not show up then try to explain, excuse, or justify it after the fact.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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