If you were arrested and a court date has been scheduled for you to appear in from of the judge for you sentencing, it is crucial that you be there—in the right place and at the right time. More than likely, you are out of jail on a bond, and if you miss your court date, the money that was paid will be owed to the bail bondsman, in addition to the criminal consequences that you will face on top of the original criminal penalties. Unfortunately, there are issues that may crop up beyond your control causing you to miss your court date. Here are three of them and how you should handle them.
Most courthouses are pretty big, so you may have gone to the wrong courtroom. In some cases, you may have found yourself at the wrong courthouse altogether. These are both mistakes that the court may be willing to accept as excuses for missing your court appearance. However, you must have proof of showing up at the wrong courtroom or courthouse, so make sure to get a statement from the clerk that you accidentally showed up at.
An Unforeseen Event
There are times when unforeseen events—surprises—occur that keep you from your prior arrangements, such as a court date. Your car may break down, a pressing family issue that you cannot ignore, or a medical emergency. As long as you have documentation that proves the unforeseen event occurred at the time you should have been at court, the court will generally accept your unforeseen event as a valid reason for not appearing in court.
If you end up missing your court appearance, it may be a result of what courts call "excusable negligence," which means that you have a justifiable and understandable excuse. One example is being unable to find a babysitter on the date that you should be in court. Courts will be lenient for issues like this, but you must be able to provide some kind of documentation that shows you attempted and failed at securing adequate childcare services.
When you are out on bond, it is important that you show up for your day in court. If you are going to miss your scheduled hearing, you don't only need to obtain proof for the courts so that you aren't getting into trouble with them, but you also need to give your bail bondsman a call to inform them of what's going on. Plus, the bondsman may be able to provide assistance for you on your next steps.