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what happens if i choose not to appear for my chicago dui arraignment

Friday, January 26th, 2018 at 4:25pm

When you receive a DUI charge in Chicago, the court may set an arraignment date in the future. The court will order you appear at the arraignment date. You may wonder what happens if you don’t go to your Chicago DUI arraignment. Here’s what you can expect if you choose not to appear at your Chicago DUI arraignment:

The court may re-notice the arraignment

If you’re lucky, the court gives you the benefit of the doubt, and they send out another notice for a second arraignment date. The notice goes to the address that you give law enforcement at the time of your arrest. If the address isn’t valid, you may not receive this notice.

The second notice that the court sends out is a new order to appear in court for an arraignment. A second arraignment date is optional on the court’s part. They can skip this step and proceed straight to penalties and a bench warrant.

The judge may find you in contempt of court

Even if the court re-notices your arraignment for a later date, the court may simultaneously issue a show cause notice for contempt of court. That’s an order that you prove to the court that you shouldn’t be held in contempt of court for willfully failing to appear at your arraignment date. The court can fine you or even revoke your bond if they hold you in contempt of court.

The court may swear out a warrant for your arrest

The court has the option to issue a warrant for your arrest. They don’t have to give you multiple chances to appear in court. They also don’t have to contact you to find out if you have a good reason for missing court. The court can jump right to issuing a bench warrant for your arrest. When the court issues a bench warrant for your arrest, the police can arrest you and hold you in jail until you can appear before the judge. The end result may be that you spend several days in jail waiting for an available judge.

They may come and arrest you

The police may wait until you come to law enforcement’s attention. You might find yourself pulled over in the future for a routine traffic stop only to find yourself arrested and transferred to jail to address the DUI charge. On the other hand, the police may come to your location to make their arrest. When you choose not to appear for your Chicago DUI arraignment, you live with the uncertainty of wondering when you have to face the charge in the future.

You may sit in jail until your next court date

A judge that’s unhappy with you for missing your arraignment date can hold a new bond hearing on the spot. If they don’t believe that you’re going to show up for future court dates, they may revoke your bond and order you to wait in jail until your case resolves. You might end up serving days, weeks or months in jail that you may not have served otherwise even if you’re ultimately convicted of DUI. Any time that you serve in jail may count as credit towards your jail sentence if you’re convicted and you receive jail time.

You forfeit your bond

You likely posted a bond when you left jail after your initial arrest. The bond is your guarantee that you’re going to appear at all of your court dates including your arraignment date. If you miss your court date, you lose your bond. The money is simply forfeited to the court.

Are the charges dismissed?

Many people make the mistake of assuming that if they get away with not addressing their Chicago DUI charges long enough, the charges against them must be dismissed. They assume that the statute of limitations applies to result in a dismissal of the charges. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

The statute of limitations is the amount of time that the state has to bring the case against you. Once the case is filed, if you choose not to show up, the case remains outstanding. When the police eventually find you, they can bring the case against you even years into the future.

You should appear for your arraignment

In all cases, your best bet is to appear at your scheduled arraignment. If you’re from out of the area, a Chicago DUI attorney can work to help you modify the scheduled arraignment date or ask the court to waive your arraignment. However, until any changes are approved by the court, you must appear for your court date. Addressing the charges is the best possible path to resolving your case and putting the incident behind you.