Like with any criminal offense, you are required to appear in court following an arrest for disorderly conduct in Minnesota. If you fail to do so, you will face not only the potential penalties from the disorderly conduct arrest but also additional criminal charges as well. In fact, the penalties related to the failure to appear for a court date are often more severe than a disorderly conduct conviction.
Thankfully, your attorney could appear on your behalf for the vast majority of your mandatory court appearances. Serving as your advocate during necessary court hearings is only one of the ways you could benefit from hiring a dedicated defense attorney. Contact a Minneapolis disorderly conduct lawyer of Gerald Miller right away to learn more about how we can help.
When Court Appearances Are Mandatory in Minnesota
Technically, the defendant is required to appear at every court proceeding during a disorderly conduct prosecution. This starts with your arraignment and continues until your trial. In between, your case could have countless motion and status hearings covering everything from minor case updates to pivotal arguments on a motion to dismiss. If you fail to appear at any of these hearings, you can expect to face additional criminal charges.
Of course, there are some exceptions that could help you avoid a criminal charge if you have a valid excuse for missing court. If you were involved in an accident or had a medical emergency, the court might agree to dismiss the bench warrant they issued due to your failure to appear in court. While these exceptions might protect you from an unavoidable absence, they are unlikely to help if you willfully refused to attend court on your disorderly conduct charge.
The Penalty for Failure to Appear in Minnesota
There are two different criminal offenses related to the failure to appear. Failing to appear on a felony charge is also a felony, while failing to appear for a misdemeanor is treated as another misdemeanor. In other words, you could face a new misdemeanor charge if you fail to appear at a hearing for your disorderly conduct case. If convicted, this offense carries up to 90 days in jail and a fine of no more than $1,000. What’s more, you could forfeit any bail you might have posted at the time of your arrest. This bail money will not be returned to you at the end of your case, win or lose.
New charges of failure to appear can also complicate your underlying disorderly conduct case. In addition to the potential penalties described above, adding a second criminal offense to your case could make it harder to reach a favorable resolution. For starters, the prosecutor might be less open to a lenient plea bargain on a disorderly conduct charge if you are now also facing failure to appear charges as well.
How a Lawyer Can Appear on Your Behalf in Minneapolis
Hiring a Minnesota defense attorney could protect you from the risk of a failure to appear. Once you engage legal counsel, they can appear on your behalf or even request to have your appearance waived entirely for certain hearings. This benefit begins early on in your case, as they could appear on your behalf for your arraignment. Ultimately, your attorney could stand in for you at virtually any hearing that does not require your testimony.
The important exception involves a trial. Once your case goes to trial, you are required to be in attendance. While you must be there in person, you are under no obligation to testify if you choose not to.
Appearing on your behalf can benefit you in more ways than just avoiding a failure to appear charge. It can free you up to return to work and not have to give up sick days or personal time.
How a Disorderly Conduct Lawyer in Minneapolis Can Help
Appearing in court on your behalf is only one of the many ways the attorneys of Gerald Miller could assist you with your disorderly conduct case. Our team could help prepare the strongest defense possible to the underlying charges against you. This could include negotiating a favorable plea or even winning your case at trial. Schedule a free consultation today to get started.