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Last Updated on: 22nd September 2023, 04:43 am
NJ Failure to Appear Suspensions and License Holds Lawyers
In New Jersey, failing to appear in court after receiving a traffic ticket or criminal summons can lead to serious consequences. If you miss a court date, the judge will likely issue a bench warrant for your arrest and suspend your driver’s license indefinitely.
Getting these failure to appear (FTA) holds lifted from your license requires appearing in court to address the underlying matter. However, the entire process can be complex and confusing to navigate. This is where an experienced New Jersey traffic lawyer can help.
This article explains how attorneys assist in resolving license suspensions and warrants due to failure to appear in NJ traffic or criminal cases. We’ll also discuss the process of clearing up old tickets you may have forgotten about.
License Suspension for Failing to Appear in NJ
If you receive a traffic ticket or criminal summons in New Jersey and do not show up for your court date, the judge will typically issue an FTA suspension on your driver’s license. This hold will remain in place until you take care of the outstanding matter.
In addition, the court will send a warrant for your arrest to law enforcement. So you may be picked up and detained the next time you encounter police, such as during a routine traffic stop.
Clearing Up Old Unresolved Tickets
Many FTA license holds stem from very old traffic infractions that people simply forgot about. The tickets may have been issued years ago in a different county than where you live now.
Trying to resolve these old matters on your own can be extremely difficult. Luckily, a traffic lawyer has resources to perform critical background research, such as:
- Contacting the NJ MVC to identify which courts issued the failure to appear
- Calling court administrators to look up old case files and docket numbers
- Reviewing records from multiple county courts and municipalities
- Researching previous addresses where you may have lived
An attorney can dig up the history of unresolved tickets and then guide you through taking the proper steps to clear up these old matters.
How Lawyers Resolve Failure to Appear Issues
Once your lawyer has identified the source of the FTA suspensions and warrants, they will walk you through the process to get the holds lifted. Steps typically include:
- Contacting the court to schedule a new hearing date
- Preparing documentation to explain why you missed the original court date
- Representing you at the hearing to address the underlying traffic or criminal matter
- Requesting the bench warrant be recalled and license suspension lifted
- Working out a resolution such as payment plan for old fines
With an attorney as your representative, judges are often willing to work with you to resolve the old matters amicably.
The Dangers of Driving with an FTA Suspension
It is critical to clear up failure to appear license holds quickly, as driving with an indefinite suspension can lead to severe consequences. Additional penalties if caught driving include:
- Fines of $500-1000
- Up to 15 days in jail
- 1-2 year additional license suspension
- Possible vehicle impoundment
In addition, your car insurance will not provide coverage if you are involved in an accident while driving on a suspended license.
Don’t Delay – Contact a Lawyer Today
Letting old traffic tickets go unresolved can come back to haunt you down the road. But trying to clear up failure to appear warrants and license holds on your own can be extremely challenging.
The legal system is complex, and judges won’t take excuses if you show up alone without representation. Your best path forward is partnering with an experienced traffic lawyer who can guide you through the process.
Don’t wait – contact an attorney today to start getting your indefinite suspension lifted. The sooner you act, the faster you can restore your driving privileges.
Common Reasons for Failing to Appear in NJ Courts
There are many reasons people miss a scheduled court date for a traffic or criminal matter. Some common excuses include:
- Forgot about the court date
- Never received the ticket or summons in the mail
- Moved to a new address after receiving the ticket
- Mixed up or misremembered the date
- Could not get time off work or find childcare
- Lacked transportation to the courthouse
- Was in the hospital or had a medical emergency
- Was out of state or on vacation
While judges may be understanding of some excuses, they still must impose a license suspension per New Jersey law when someone fails to appear as scheduled.
The Warrant and Arrest Process for FTA
In addition to suspending your license, the court will issue a bench warrant for your arrest if you fail to appear. This allows police to detain you if they encounter you during any traffic stop or interaction.
The officer will likely handcuff you and transport you to jail, where you will be photographed, fingerprinted, and held until you can see a judge. The judge will set bail conditions for your release.
Having an active warrant also shows up on criminal background checks. So it can impact things like job applications and housing until the matter is resolved.
Seeking Legal Representation for Failure to Appear
Traffic lawyers strongly advise against ignoring old tickets and missing court dates. However, if you already have an FTA suspension and warrant, contacting an attorney for help is recommended over trying to resolve it alone.
Benefits of having a lawyer represent you include:
- They can negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf
- They know how to recall warrants and lift suspensions
- They can request fine reductions and payment plans
- They understand how to present mitigating circumstances
- They can minimize the risk of arrest when you appear in court
Judges appreciate when people make the effort to address outstanding matters properly through counsel.
The License Restoration Process After FTA Suspension
Once your traffic lawyer has represented you in court and resolved the old tickets and warrants, getting your license restored involves a few additional steps.
You will need to pay a $100 restoration fee to the NJ MVC and provide proof of valid auto insurance. Any fines owed to the court must be paid or put on an approved payment schedule.
Your attorney can help ensure you complete all the necessary requirements. Most FTA suspensions are lifted within 1-2 weeks once everything is resolved.
Finding the Right Lawyer to Handle Failure to Appear Issues
When searching for a traffic lawyer to help resolve your FTA suspension and warrant, look for these important traits:
- Experience – Find someone well-versed in handling many past cases just like yours.
- Local Knowledge – Choose an attorney familiar with the courts and judges in the counties where you missed court.
- Responsiveness – Pick a lawyer who is easy to reach and will keep you updated throughout the process.
- Affordable Fees – Avoid attorneys who overcharge for FTA cases. Ask about flat rates.
Vet any lawyer thoroughly before hiring them to handle your failure to appear issues.
Act Fast to Start Resolving Your Failure to Appear
The longer an indefinite license suspension and warrant sit unaddressed, the worse things become. Old fines grow, arrest risks increase, and insurance problems develop.
Don’t delay – call an experienced traffic lawyer today to start getting your failure to appear records cleaned up. They know how to advocate for you and resolve these matters efficiently so your suspension gets lifted.