It finally happened. You were driving under the influence, and you got caught. Maybe you were weaving; maybe you even crashed. But your license has been suspended, you’ve got a mark on your record, and you’ve been ordered to appear in Massachusetts court for your DUI hearing. You may be thinking you can just skip the hearing; you already took the mark to your record, and now that you’ve been let out of the drunk tank you do not see much point in attending a hearing to confirm what you already know. So why not just skip it?

Because you may face much more severe penalties for failure to appear. If you are arrested for a DUI and let out on bail or on your own recognizance, per Mass.gov you could face massive fines and jail time for failure to or refusal to appear in court to face your DUI sentencing. Those who do not attend court when ordered can see from one to five years in prison added to sentencing depending on if the DUI is classed as a misdemeanor or a felony. Fines can range from $10,000 to $50,000.

That is not to say that if some extenuating circumstance prevents you from attending your hearing, the courts will heartlessly punish you without consideration for your situation. If you can demonstrate that you had sufficient reason to miss the hearing, due to hardship or other unexpected circumstances, you may be granted leniency and a rescheduled hearing.

This post has been provided as a reference and should not be misconstrued as actionable legal counsel.