What happens if I can't make court the day of my court hearing?

Well, you're in a pinch.  Your car broke down... You missed your ride... Your kid is sick... You got stuck in the snow... Your long lost grandma died... You couldn't get off work...Traffic was terrible...

Excuses.  I promise the judge and your lawyer has heard them all.  Excuses on why you "no-showed" your court date.  I say this a little bit as a joke.  Things happen and sometimes things happen to you.  You may have had the best of intentions but somehow it was out of your control and you missed court.  What now?

It depends.  Sometimes missing court is no big deal other times missing court will land you in jail.  It depends on alot of factors.

1. Why did you miss and can you legitimately prove why you missed?  If you got in a car accident on the way to the courthouse and call your lawyer and provide documentation, no judge is going to hold that against you.  If you overslept to a 2:00 p.m. court hearing you probably better bring a toothbrush with you because your probably going to jail. 

2. How serious of a crime are you charged with?  If your charged with a municipal misdemeanor you might not even be required to attend court.  If your charged with a felony, you better be on-time or expect to go to jail.

3. What judge are you in-front of?  Some are far more leniant than others.

4. What jurisdiction are you in?  Some courts require appearances and some courts do not require appearances

5. Is this a common thing?  If you missed one court appearance out of 20 a judge is far more likely to understand.  If you've been late to all three hearings and no show the fourth.  Better be ready to repost your bond.

The long and short of it is, be to court on-time and don't miss court.  If something comes up communication is key.  Call your lawyer and let him/her know what is going on.  If you don't have a lawyer then get ahold of the court and let them know what is going on.  Most people are understanding if something truly comes up.  Lastly, don't lie or embellish the reason you couldn't make it.  It is very common for a judge to ask for documentation.  If you can't provide documentation not only will they hold it against you but you might find yourself charged with contempt.

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