How Does a Failure to Appear/Report & Pay Fines Affect Colorado Probation?
If you fail to appear/report in Colorado, your judge can issue something called a bench warrant for your arrest. This empowers officers of the law, as well as bondsmen, to arrest you and take you into custody. Assuming that the bail amount was paid, this money will be forfeited. Any collateral for your bail will also be forfeited.
Another sour consequence of failure to appear/report can be much stricter bail terms going forward. In certain cases, criminal offenders who fail to report to court can be denied bail altogether, until the time of the trial - this means you could be sitting in jail for weeks or months.
If you are on probation and you fail to report to your probation officer, this could be considered to be a violation of your probation. Probation violations can be punished in a variety of ways, including:
- Loss of your probation (i.e., you will have to serve out your sentence in prison)
- Fines and fees
- Mandatory community service
- Mandatory drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation
- Stricter terms of probation going forward
Should you continue to avoid court or "turn yourself in"?
A criminal offender in Colorado Springs who deliberately (or even unintentionally) misses a court hearing and receives a charge of "failing to appear", can make their situation far worse by continuing to play the role of "fugitive."
The longer you wait to address the situation, the more the court will likely to penalize you accordingly. Conversely, if you take an active approach and connect with an experienced Colorado Springs criminal defense law firm, like the Bussey Law Firm, P.C., you may be able to avoid penalties or at least mitigate them substantially.
As a part of your Colorado Springs, CO probation arrangement, the court may order you to pay fines and restitution. This may also include community service, attending alcohol and drug education classes, and meeting regularly with a probation officer to track your progress.
If criminal offenders fail to meet one or several of these obligations, their cases can get vastly more complicated. For instance, the court may order you to pay a fine of $2,000.00 pursuant to a minor theft conviction. Due to financial pressures, frustrations, or simply lack of organization, you failed to pay the fine in time. What will happen now?
The legal system's response will depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Your past criminal convictions and Colorado Springs probation violations, if any;
- The amount of money you failed to pay;
- Whether you concurrently failed to abide by other terms of your probation (e.g. regular drug and alcohol tests, regular meetings with your probation officer, etc.);
- Whether you missed a court date;
- Whether you proactively responded by contacting the court about your lapse.
Many Colorado Springs criminal defendants view the court system from a skeptical and dubious perspective. When you get punished with jail time, strict probation terms, and forced classes and community service, it's easy to view the justice system through the lens of: "They're just trying to make my life harder."
As a result of this mindset, many offenders wind up avoiding their probation duties, either intentionally or unconsciously. If you fail to pay fines, appear in court, meet with your probation officer, and/or engage in other behavior that violates the terms of your probation, your probation may get revoked. You can also get charged with time in jail and hefty fees, fines, and court costs.
For many offenders, this process becomes a vicious cycle. A person commits an offense. The court hands down a sentence, including probation. The offender violates probation. The court imposes a more stringent sentence. The offender gets hardened to the system and develops a "there's no way out, so why bother trying" mind set. The frustrations and sorrows mount and feed on one another.
If you failed to follow the terms of your probation, you're not helpless. Indeed, with a quality Colorado Springs legal defense team behind you - such as the Bussey Law Firm, P.C. - you can minimize your penalties and maximize your chances for a successful rehabilitation and a return to a normal life. Connect with the skilled Colorado probation violation attorneys at the Bussey Law Firm today.