There are four ways you can be charged with an offence and made to appear in court. These include:
- Getting arrested by the police and kept in custody until your court date;
- Being given a notice to appear (for criminal or traffic matters);
- Being given a complaint and summons to appear in court (for civil matters); or
- Deciding to oppose an infringement notice.
This article deals with point 2 on this list – what to do if you receive a notice to appear in court.
What is a Notice to Appear?
You will receive a notice to appear before the court when Police have made a decision to charge you with a criminal offence. This may be as a result of something police have observed or as a result of a complainant made by another person.
A Notice to Appear is issued by Police and once issued means that you will have to appear before a Court. The Notice will state which Court you have to appear at and what time you will have to appear. The Notice will also provide a brief summary as to what you have been charged with. It is always recommended you seek immediate legal advice and comply with the Notice to Appear.
What happens if I don’t comply with the Notice to Appear?
One common question we get asked, is what if I don’t comply with the notice. This is called ‘Failing to Appear’.
If you fail to attend court on the specified date and time the court can, and usually will, issue a warrant for your arrest. This will give rise to you being an active person of interest to Queensland Police. If they locate you, they will immediately place you under arrest and transport you to a police station or watch house. You will then likely be charged with failing to appear.
In some instances the for some minor offences you can also be found guilty in your absence and sentenced accordingly. We strongly suggest advice is sought before relying on this to happen though.
If you honestly and legitimately cannot appear on the set date, you should seek legal advice to understand the process and your options.
If you have missed a Court date and Police have not located you then we strongly suggest surrendering yourself to the nearest courthouse registry at 8:30am on any weekday as soon as possible. The registry will then place your matter back before the court that same day and consider recalling and cancelling the warrant.
Simply refusing to appear without a legitimate reason is considered an act in contempt of the court.
What Should I Do If I Receive a Notice to Appear?
Seek the advice of an expert Criminal and Traffic Lawyer.
With offices in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, the team at Howden Saggers Lawyers appear in Court every day. We know the Magistrates; we understand the procedures. We have a great relationship with many Barristers at the Queensland Bar. We understand how the Courts work. We understand the pressures that you may feel in having to go to Court.
We also believe that legal fees shouldn’t break the bank and for that reason we are quite often able to undertake matters on the basis of a fixed fee. This means you will know exactly how much your matter will cost.
Howden Saggers Lawyers is also a Preferred Supplier for Legal Aid Queensland. This means that we are able to undertake matters funded by Legal Aid Queensland as long as you meet the required eligibility criteria.
At Howden Saggers Lawyers our lawyers appear in Court every day, we understand that procedures, we know the law, we get the results.
We are on your side.