25 Oct 5 things you can do if you missed your court date
5 things you can do if you missed your court date
If you get a traffic ticket, you will likely get information about your court date when you pay your fine or when you are pulled over by the police. If you didn’t keep track of your court date, though, it can be hard to know what to do if you don’t show up in court on time. Here are five things you can do if you missed your court date that may help put things back on track to getting it resolved in your favor.
1) Call the Court
Court dates are mandatory, so missing one is no small offense. If it’s within 24 hours of your court appearance, give them a call to see what they want you to do. Explain that you missed it because of work or another emergency. Let them know that you’d like to reschedule and why. Be nice and cooperative: likeable people get better results than those who cause a scene.
2) Plead Guilty
Many drivers don’t bother pleading guilty because they’re just too busy to go to traffic court or they think that a plea of not guilty will help their case. But going to court and accepting responsibility for your actions is actually a smart move. Not only will you have less points on your driving record, but it will also help decrease your odds of getting a suspended license down the road.
3) Be Excused from Fines
If you fail to appear at a hearing, most states impose a penalty on top of what you owe in fines.
4) Get Another Chance to Appear Before a Judge
If possible, try to resolve your ticket issue before even seeing a judge. Depending on where you live, alternate dispute resolution (ADR) is one of two options available to drivers who want to avoid traffic court. ADR includes methods like mediation and arbitration—both of which are often handled over email or phone calls rather than in-person courtroom sessions. Check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or online traffic courts for more information about how these programs work.
5) Seek Alternative Dispute Resolution
If you missed your court date, it might be best to discuss your case with a judge in chambers. This way, instead of missing out on time with friends and family or facing added fees and costs for missing a court appearance, they may allow you to return at a later date (or show up in person) and avoid penalties. You’ll also have more control over your case that way. And, most importantly: it will help keep points off of your record!