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undefinedWhen charged with a failure to appear or FTA/FTP in CA, there are severe consequences if convicted.

If you have missed your court date in Merced County Courthouse, you may face severe consequences. You should consult a traffic attorney immediately and wait to drive until the attorney notifies you that they have cleared your failure to appear.

Failing to appear in court can result in additional charges and penalties that can have long-lasting effects on your driving record and credit score. In this blog post, we will discuss what a Failure to Appear is and how it differs from an FTA/FTP in Merced County, CA.

What Is a Failure to Appear?

A Failure to Appear occurs when an individual fails to appear in court for a scheduled court date or when a driver with a traffic ticket is released but agrees to resolve their traffic ticket before the court date or appear in court.

Hence the wording in subparagraph (a) of CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 40508Release upon Promise to Appear:

“A person willfully violating his or her written promise to appear or a lawfully granted continuance of his or her promise to appear in court…”

Many drivers think, “I never made a written promise to appear in court.” They actually did. When they signed their traffic citation, they promised the people of CA that they would resolve their ticket before the court date or appear in court to resolve it.

This can happen for many reasons, such as forgetting the court date, not receiving the court notice, or being unable to attend due to a medical emergency or other unforeseen circumstances. Some circumstances are excusable, such as incarceration (you were in jail on your court date), deportation (you were deported), military service (you were deployed to another area by the military), or another.

It is up to the traffic court judge what they accept as a reasonable excuse. However, not receiving a court reminder is not a valid excuse for failure to appear.  

In Merced County, a failure to appear in court could technically lead to the judge issuing a bench warrant for your arrest. The warrant will remain in effect until you appear in court or are arrested by law enforcement officers (LEO). The court may also find you guilty in absentia, which means you will be convicted of the original charge without being present to defend yourself.

How Is FTA/FTP Different?

An FTA/FTP can include the failure to appear (FTA) or when an individual fails to pay (FTP) a fine or complete a court-ordered program.

An FTA/FTP could result in additional penalties, such as a civil penalty of up to $300 in addition to what you already owe the county for the original ticket.

The county clerk will likely send a report to the credit bureau for non-payment. If you have an FTA/FTP, you may also face additional charges for obstructing justice or contempt of court.

Additionally, an FTA/FTP can have long-lasting effects on your driving record and insurance premiums. You should call a traffic attorney immediately to clear the situation before driving because driving on a suspended license is a misdemeanor crime.

An FTA/FTP could happen for many reasons, such as financial difficulties or a lack of understanding of the court order. In Merced County, the court may publish a bench warrant for your arrest if you have  an FTA/FTP. The court could issue a report to the credit bureau for non-payment.

If you have an FTA/FTP in Merced County, it is important to take action to resolve the issue immediately. Ignoring the issue can result in additional penalties, including suspending your driver's license. Consult a traffic attorney about resolving your FTA/FTP. They could start working on it with only a phone call or email.

NOTE: DO NOT pay anything to a credit bureau for an FTA/FTP without consulting a traffic attorney first. This could hamper the process or be seen as an admission of guilt.

In Merced County, Consult with Bigger & Harman, the Bakersfield Traffic Ticket Defense Team

Call Bigger & Harman, APC, at (661) 349-9300. Or, use the handy online contact form, or email

“These guys are amazing! I had a very unique situation with an 9 year failure to appear for my son, and they got his bench warrant lifted and the case dropped entirely!!  I highly recommend them!!! They are very prompt and thorough. You won't be disappointed!!”Wande K., San Diego, CA. Read more…

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The CA Driver Handbook English y Español.

CVC Section 40508Release upon Promise to Appear.

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