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In law, failure to appear consists of a defendant or respondent failing to appear at (or within) the stated time before a tribunal as directed in a summons. Where the conduct alleged in the summons or complaint is an infraction or summary offence, failure to appear is a process crime for which a bench-warrant can be issued if the defendant promised to appear. If the conduct alleged is a tort or other cause for civil action, failure to appear generally results in a default judgment by the court in favor of the plaintiff/petitioner.

In the United StatesEdit

Failure to appear in U.S. federal law is an offense punishable by a prison term, depending on the seriousness of the offense the person is being sentenced for:[1][2]

Offense of conviction Maximum prison term for failure to appear for sentencing Offense level
An offense punishable by death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for a term of 15 years or more 10 years 14
An offense punishable by imprisonment for a term of five years or more 5 years 11
Any other felony 2 years 8
A misdemeanor 1 year 5

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