Reaching a court for a matter is a big deal, even if you are a defendant. It is required to be present in a hearing or a trial. A person charged with a minor or severe crime is subjected to a criminal justice system—both must prove or disprove the innocence. Even the witness of the crime carrying essential information must be present in the court.
Being present in the court for a matter of whatsoever nature, whichever side of the law you are from. Making up on the court’s date is the most crucial thing and is required to be in priority. But what if a person fails to be present in the court on the date of the hearing?
Unfortunately, if a person misses a court hearing or a trial, which can be due to many reasons, sometimes the habits of a person interfere with what needs to happen, and sometimes things come so suddenly that you have no choice but to miss the trial. But failure to notify the court in time can have serious consequences.
Here are some essential details you need to know to reschedule your court date.
Can you reschedule the court date if you miss it?
To answer this question, you need to look into the various aspect. Yes, the court date could be rescheduled but not necessarily. It is the court’s discretion whether to reschedule the court date or not. To reschedule the court date, you need to have a proper reason to prove that you missed the court date for some valid reason. If the court is not convinced by the reason you missed the court date, you may have to face the consequences.
What happens if you miss your court date?
It is essential to understand why the involved parties must be in court and do everything they can to attend a court hearing. It is because the party to the suit or trial, including the witness, has a very different role in the court process; sometimes, the delicate details must be clarified. Regardless of your role in your court day as an absentee witness or a missing defendant, the consequences are grave.
If the matter is criminal, the defendant must go to court to face the trial, and if the person is on bail, he must be in court for the trial. It is a legal requirement to attend the hearings for any criminal proceeding in which you are a party.
For a witness, a court requires as much evidence as possible to make the most informed decision the court can grant in the given circumstances. Often this involves witness accounts in the event of a crime. To ensure that a witness appears at a specific court date, an authority, in this case, the court, issues a so-called subpoena to a person.
A legal document subpoena requires the person concerned to appear in court to testify as a witness to the alleged crime. It is a legally binding summons, and as a witness to events, you are legally obliged to attend the court date for the main hearing.
So, whether you are going to court as a witness or a defendant, failure to appear in court by the appointed time will have serious consequences. Not appearing in court when asked to do so is contempt of court, a criminal offense.
Consequences of not appearing in the court
Some of the consequences of not appearing in the court on the date of hearing or when called are:
- Bench Warrant: This works the same as an arrest warrant. The police have the power to arrest you, take you to court to perform your task as intended, or until the case is closed.
- Bail Bond: If you are a defendant, your bail will get revoked, and you will be forced to remain in prison until brought to justice.
- Contempt of Court: The law requires you to be present in the court whenever called upon. If you don’t appear whenever called, it is a misdemeanor, and you can get charged as such, with either a substantial fine or up to one year in prison.
- Harsher sentence: If you are found guilty as a defendant, your demonstrated contempt of court could result in a worse punishment than you would otherwise have, although the judge will make the final decision.
If you do not show up for your court date, there may be several other consequences, and you shouldn’t let this happen.
What happens if the defendant is not in court?
The judge may issue a failure report if the defendant in a criminal case is not present in the court whenever called. The FTA may result in license suspension and a bench warrant. Upon failure to appear, your license can get suspended if the court issues the notice. The bench warrant can be issued for missing the court date, which will act as a warrant to arrest you.
The type of criminal charge against you affects what happens next if you miss the court date. If the court date is for a traffic violation or minor infraction, the police will not likely come knocking on your door. However, if you get pulled over by the police for a minor traffic violation, the police will see that you have an outstanding warrant and make an arrest.
The best option would be calling or showing up to the court after missing the date and explaining what happened. If, in case, there is a bench warrant against you, showing up to clear the reason behind missing the date of the hearing may land you behind bars. A way to avoid the arrest and landing up behind the bar is by having your lawyer contact the court to get the warrant removed and schedule a new hearing date.
Missing a Court Date due to Emergency
Some factors are outside your control and may prevent you from appearing in court. Some of the emergencies that may arise are:
- Car accidents
- Serious health issues or medical emergencies
- Being held in custody for another offense
- Death of an immediate family member
Some judges may grant postponements for less severe issues like needing to work, being out of town, or having to watch family, but it’s entirely up to their discretion. It is always beneficial to show the courts that you take your case seriously enough to show up for a hearing except for unforeseen circumstances.
How to reschedule the court date?
Several steps can be taken to reschedule a missed court date if missed. Firstly, what you must do to work with an attorney is to ask the attorney to communicate with the courts and rectify the situation. In case additional charges or a bench warrant had been issued against you due to non-appearance in the court hearing, you might be able to drop them off once you explain your absence within a particular time after the missed court date. The court is under no obligation to accept your contention, but the court will be willing to consider it.
The following steps can be taken to reschedule the court date:
- Contact your lawyer: If you are working with an attorney, inform them as soon as possible. There are chances that the attorney can convince the court to reschedule the date. If the court has directed you to take any adverse action against you, such direction can be taken back by the court without any further action required from you.
- Contact the court: Contact the court clerk or ask your lawyer to do so and explain that you are trying to reschedule a court appearance. The clerk will be able to provide you with more information about how you can proceed. Make sure to pay close attention to the instructions and time frames.
- File any paperwork: If the clerk provides you with forms to fill, fill them and return them promptly. Some courts may require you to send in a letter, and others may need the person to be specifically available at a specified time to submit your forms.
- Inform bail bondsman: If you worked with a bail bond agent to be released on a surety bond, then make sure they are in the loop and know that you are requesting a different court date.
Yes, it is technically possible to reschedule a court date if such a situation arises. However, it is always beneficial to be present in the court whenever required. It is always the discretion of the court to reschedule a court date or not. However, it should only be done if no alternative is possible to resolve your issue and should be done as early as possible. It is always beneficial to keep the relevant authorities up to date on what is currently happening with your situation. Ultimately, the court will decide if rescheduling is possible.
Missing a court date without any relevant reason can land you behind bars. So, try not to miss the court date. So, if you miss one or cannot attend the hearing scheduled in the future, try to inform the authorities as soon as possible.
What happens if you miss the date twice?
The court might issue a warrant against you, and you might get arrested on the grounds of non-appearing in the court.
Are there any fees required to reschedule the date?
Yes, there are chances that the court may ask you to pay a fine to reschedule the court date.
What happens when you don’t attend court on a scheduled date?
The court may issue the warrant against you, and you may land up in jail. The court can also impose a fine upon you or close the case, which is upon the discretion of the court and the nature of the case.
Do you need an attorney to reschedule a court date?
There is no rigid rule about having an attorney reschedule the court date. However, it will always be beneficial for you to have an attorney by your side.