Colin McCallin Sept. 9, 2013

It was quite an offseason for the Denver Broncos, legally speaking. Von Miller, the star outside linebacker and fan favorite, has been suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, but he was also recently arrested for missing a mandatory court appearance after receiving a minor traffic citation. It appears that his talent for sacking quarterbacks does not extend to following court orders.

Just last week, we learned that rising star tight end Julius Thomas was arrested as well, also pursuant to failing to appear for a traffic citation. See the Denver Post story here: Fortunately, his two touchdown scores against the Baltimore Ravens are what people are talking about now (including me, because he is on my fantasy team and lifted me to victory over my rival), but it was still embarrassing for him. Talk about a classic rookie mistake.

In Colorado, missing a mandatory court appearance is a big deal. The judge will issue a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest. The court will also send a notice of the failure to appear to the Department of Motor Vehicles, who will then suspend the offender’s license. A more intangible consequence is that this can create a negative impression of the defendant for the judge, demonstrating that the defendant does not take the matter seriously. Showing up to court with a “my dog ate my homework” type of excuse rarely flies well with a judge.

Many times, failing to appear in court is not the intention of the defendant. Sometimes people mix up court dates, appear in the wrong county, leave town for business, or just plain forget. However, none of these excuses will prevent the court from handing down the sanctions we just discussed. The defendant will need to appear in court to clear the warrant (sometimes a judge will still arrest the defendant), pay a warrant cancellation fee, and go to the DMV to reinstate the suspended license at a cost of $95.

If you ever receive a citation for any offense, make sure you take note of the court date, time, and location and be there. If for some reason you can’t make it, contact the court to see if the matter can be rescheduled, or contact an attorney who may be able to secure a waiver of your appearance. Hopefully we can learn two things from our friends Von and Julius: 1) the Broncos are the best team in the NFL, and 2) showing up is half the battle!