Failure to appear is a California crime that is charged whenever a person is charged with or convicted of a California crime, released from custody, and then willfully fails to appear from court when required to do so, in order to evade the process of the court. Failure to appear is either a misdemeanor or a felony offense, depending on the underlying crime (i.e., it is charged as a misdemeanor if the underlying charge is a misdemeanor).
If you fail to appear in court, a judge will typically issue a bench warrant. Your attorney can often recall and quash a bench warrant by appearing in court on your behalf (for misdemeanor cases; you will have to be present for a felony case) and making an argument for dismissal.
Failure to appear is a specific intent crime, which means that a prosector must demonstrate that your failure to appear was (1) willful and (2) that you did not have an intent to evade the process of the court when you did not appear. A skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney could argue that your actions do not meet the required elements of the crime. For example, if you simply forgot about your court date, then your failure to appear was not willful, and it was not done with the intent to evade the process of the court. Alternatively, if you were released without signing an agreement that sets forth the terms of your release, it could result in your failure to appear charges being dismissed.