What will happen if someone who was vacationing in the US misses a court date? 7 Answers as of January 08, 2011

A friend got caught with a joint of weed. He is currently vacationing in the US. He has a court date scheduled for February 3rd. He will be back in Mexico at this time. What happens if he misses the court date because he is not in the US? Will he be able to leave the country?

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Pacifica Legal Services
Pacifica Legal Services | Floyd Fernandez
If your friend attempts to leave the country, failure to appear to a misdemeanor charge of marijuana can be cause for having a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT), that will prevent him from ever obtaining any visas to enter the USA again. If he appears and the case ends with him having been cited with less than 30 mg. of marijuana in his possession, he is under the "petty offense" rule that would make him able to apply in the future for a visa. He can remain in the USA past his departure date for up to six months without penalty. If his offense for which he is charged is more serious, then he may need to depart timely, wherein there may not be an ability by the USA to extradite him.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/8/2011
Calderón Seguin PLC
Calderón Seguin PLC | Ofelia L. Calderon
He will probably be able to leave the country, but I do not recommend simply not going to court. You need to consult with a criminal attorney to see if the date can be moved up. The arrest and the failure to appear for court will be problematic if this person ever wants to return the U.S.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 12/22/2010
Pauly P.A.
Pauly P.A. | Clemens W. Pauly
I do not know in which state this case is pending but generally speaking, if your friend does not appear at the hearing, a bench warrant will likely be issued for his arrest and that means that he cannot return to the US without being arrested. He needs to hire a lawyer immediately in this case.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 12/22/2010
Fletcher, Tilton & Whipple, PC
Fletcher, Tilton & Whipple, PC | Kirk A. Carter
Unless the authorities took your friends passport at the time of his arrest or bail he will likely have no problem leaving the country and returning to Mexico. However, if he fails to appear for his criminal hearing he will be found to have defaulted on the terms of his release
and in most states a capias or default warrant will issue for his immediate arrest. While the US authorities could seek his extradition to the US to face the charges here, it is highly unlikely that this would happen for such a minor charge. However, if he ever sought to return to the US and got stopped by the police he would be immediately arrested and would be in serious trouble for skipping out on his court hearing and the criminal charges he faced. He might also be inadmissible to return to the US (depending upon the quantity of weed and other considerations), so if he has any desire of ever returning to the US he would be best advised to stay here, get a good attorney and try to get the charges resolved before leaving. If he needs to get an extension of his authorized period of stay in order to do this he can apply to USCIS for this purpose.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 12/22/2010
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
If he has a court date he needs to be here to take care of that. if not in court the judge will issue a bench warrant. So if he again ever tries to enter the country in the future the computers will pick up on that matter.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 12/22/2010
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