Failure to Appear in Ohio: What Are the Consequences?

Failure to Appear in Ohio: What Are the Consequences?

Receiving a notice or summons to appear in court can be a nerve-wracking experience.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, domestic violence, or another criminal offense, showing up at the appointed time is of the utmost importance. A missed court appearance comes with consequences. You may be charged with the additional crime of failure to appear in court.

What Does the Law Say About Failure to Appear in Ohio?

The sanctions for failure to appear in court at the requested time, according to the Ohio Revised Code (Section 2935.11), are as follows:

If the person summoned to appear […] fails to appear without just cause and personal service of the summons was had upon him, he may be found guilty of contempt of court and may be fined […] for such contempt. Upon failure to appear, the court or magistrate may forthwith issue a warrant for his arrest.

In practice, a failure to appear charged in Ohio often leads to the following consequences:

  • Court fines
  • Denial of bail
  • Loss of bail money
  • Suspension of your driving privileges
  • A bench warrant from the judge
  • An arrest warrant

Failure to Appear in Court While Out On Bail

Failing to appear in court when you are released of your own recognizance is bad enough.

If you are released on bail, the consequences for failing to appear in court will be far more severe. Say you don’t show up on your appointed date and you are later stopped by a police officer for any reason, you can be arrested and taken into custody, and your bail will be forfeited.

If you were released in connection with a felony charge, failure to appear would be deemed a fourth-degree felony. If the release was in connection with certain misdemeanor charges or you were subpoenaed as a witness, failure to appear is deemed a first-degree misdemeanor charge.

What if I Had a Good Reason for My Failure to Appear?

Ohio law outlines two conditions that give rise to being charged with failure to appear:

  1. The summons was served to you directly
  2. Your failure to appear was without just cause

If the summons was not delivered to you personally (in your hand), the court can’t charge you for a failure to appear.

You may also defend the charge by showing that you had just cause for failing to appear. Just cause for missing your court date could be a car accident, illness, or another type of emergency.

An Ohio criminal defense attorney will be vital in fighting any charges made against you for missing court.

Failure to Appear Vs. Contempt of Court

Contempt of court is the general term used to describe the willful disobedience of or disregard for an order of the court. Failure to appear on your designated court date is, therefore, merely one example of being in contempt.

According to 2705.02 of the Ohio Revised Code, a person can be found guilty of contempt of court in Ohio in the following instances, among others:

  • Disobeying or resisting a lawful writ, process, order, rule, judgment, or command of a court or officer
  • Failing to appear when appropriately served a subpoena or refusing to answer as a witness
  • Failing to obey a subpoena issued by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services or a child support enforcement agency
  • Willfully ignoring a court order to submit to genetic testing—or to submit a child to genetic testing

What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do?

The Ohio criminal justice system can be challenging to navigate. You need a fierce advocate to ensure your rights are protected through the attorney-client relationship. By building a solid defense, we fight for the best possible outcome for you and your future.

Our criminal defense attorney can represent your interests in many ways:

  • Conduct independent investigations
  • Identify expert witnesses, such as medical professionals
  • Identify and interview additional witnesses
  • Examine the alleged crime scene
  • Gather evidence in support of your defense
  • Work with the prosecution to negotiate plea deals
  • Determine mitigating factors to help strengthen your defense
  • Draft, file, and argue motions in court
  • Research relevant legislation, regulations, and case law
  • Meet with you to discuss your case’s progress
  • File an appeal

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, the last thing you need is the additional charge of failing to appear in court. Our experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney can help to fight your charge and achieve the best possible outcome.

Schedule a free consultation today.

Author Bio

Botnick Law Firm

Robert Botnick is CEO and Managing Partner of Botnick Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm in Cleveland, OH. With more than 19 years of experience in criminal defense, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Robert received his Juris Doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University and is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including the Best DUI Lawyers in Cleveland award by

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