Failure to Appear
1. VIOLATE PROMISE TO APPEAR AFTER CITATION (TICKET) ISSUED BY PEACE OFFICER
If a defendant fails to make an appearance in person, by letter, or by fax appearance before the due date of the citation, then an additional charge of “Violate Promise to Appear” (VPTA) will be filed against the defendant and warrants will be issued for the defendant’s arrest. When a defendant signs the citation, the citation becomes a Personal Bond (PR Bond) that allows the officer to release the defendant to appear in court rather than arresting the defendant and taking him or her before the municipal judge without delay. Thus, the defendant is signing a written promise to appear in court to answer the charges brought against him or her. Violating one’s written promise to appear in court is a violation of Section 543.005 of the Texas Transportation Code and is punishable by a fine not to exceed $200 plus all court costs and warrant fees. Please note that court appearances cannot be made by telephone call or voicemail messages. See statute, below:
Texas Transportation Code § 543.005. PROMISE TO APPEAR. To secure release, the person arrested must make a written promise to appear in court by signing the written notice prepared by the arresting officer. The signature may be obtained on a duplicate form or on an electronic device capable of creating a copy of the signed notice. The arresting officer shall retain the paper or electronic original of the notice and deliver the copy of the notice to the person arrested. The officer shall then promptly release the person from custody.
2. FAILURE TO APPEAR IN COURT
If a defendant is released from custody and intentionally and knowingly fails to appear in accordance with the terms of the release, after having been given notice to appear by the court, then an additional charge of “Failure to Appear” in court (FTA) will be filed against the defendant and warrants will be issued for the defendant’s arrest. This is a violation of Texas Penal Code Section 38.10 and is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 plus all court costs and warrant fees. See statute, below:
Texas Penal Code § 38.10. BAIL JUMPING AND FAILURE TO APPEAR.
(a) A person lawfully released from custody, with or without bail, on condition that he subsequently appear commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly fails to appear in accordance with the terms of his release.
(b) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the appearance was incident to community supervision, parole, or an intermittent sentence.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor had a reasonable excuse for his failure to appear in accordance with the terms of his release.
(e) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor if the offense for which the actor's appearance was required is punishable by fine only.