Failure to Appear in Court

Failure to Appear in Court

If you cannot appear in Municipal Court, do as many ofthe following as soon as you can:

If you are a witness and were subpoenaed or asked to appear by the prosecuting attorney, call the prosecuting attorney, see Frequently Needed Phone Numbers. There are two prosecuting attorneys in Hamilton County – the City Prosecutor (handles all Municipal/misdemeanor cases that occur within the City of Cincinnati) and the County Prosecutor (handles all cases that occur outside the City of Cincinnati and all Common Pleas/felony cases). When you call, be sure to have the case number from the subpoena, if you have one. The case number is usually in the upper right-hand corner of the subpoena. Case numbers beginning with a "C" are handled by the County Prosecutor.

If you are a witness and were subpoenaed or asked to appear by the defense attorney, call the defense attorney. If the defense attorney is a public defender, see Frequently Needed Phone Numbers. When you call, be sure to have the case number from the subpoena, if you have one. (The case number is usually in the upper right-hand corner of the subpoena.)

If you are a defendant or a party to a case and have an attorney representing you, call your attorney as soon as you know you cannot appear as scheduled.

Call the bailiff in the courtroom in which you are scheduled to appear. If you do not know which courtroom, see Court Hearing Information. See also Courtroom Phone Numbers. Explain to the bailiff why you cannot appear. (If you have an attorney, ask your attorney if you should call the courtroom before calling. If your attorney directs you to call the courtroom, be sure to tell the bailiff your attorney's name.) Please be aware that an arrest warrant may still be issued for your failure to appear, even if you call the courtroom.

Unless your attorney tells you otherwise, send a relative or a trusted friend to appear in court and explain why you cannot appear. Be sure your friend or relative knows where you are supposed to appear, see Court Hearing Information. Again, an arrest warrant may still be issued for your failure to appear.

Please keep in mind that the Judge decides how to handle each failure to appear; a Judge may issue an arrest warrant , grant you a continuance, or take any other action they choose. Sanctions for failure to appear may include being prohibited from getting a driver's license, issuing a registration or renewal of license plates, or transferring a vehicle.

Taking some action to inform court authorities you cannot appear will almost certainly be better than doing nothing at all.

Failure to Appear

Criminal Cases

A Capias is issued with a bond amount. Contact your attorney.

BMV blocks driver's license and vehicle registration issuance or renewal, and assesses the person a $15 fee.

Failure to Appear Program (FTA Program). If you have not previously participated in the program and agree to cooperate, the capias issued will be recalled and you will directed to appear in court on another date without posting bond. Call (513) 946-6153 to see if you qualify for the FTA program.

Civil Cases

In civil cases, such as evictions and small claims, your failure to appear for a scheduled appearance can result in the case being dismissed if you filed the complaint, or a default judgment being rendered against you if the suit was brought against you.

Contact the Clerk of Court’s office.

The Clerk's office should be able to give you instructions on how to post bond or otherwise respond to a capias. If the capias was issued for your failure to pay a fine, the Clerk's office can instruct you as to how to pay the fine, see Stay to Pay.