When You Miss Court 

The consequences of missing court depend on a variety of factors including the nature of the offense for which you are charged, the local court rules where your case is pending, and the policies of the prosecutor. Generally speaking, missing court is a very bad idea and is likely to result in: a) a loss of the opportunity to contest the case or to obtain a disposition which would avoid a conviction (as by court supervision); b) entry of a default judgment and an assessment of a fine and court costs, which, if left unpaid, could result in the suspension of your driving privileges; c) an issuance of an arrest warrant for failure to appear in court.

Every effort should be made to make it to court on the assigned date. If you can’t make it to court on that date, it may be possible to seek a continuance to another date, but this needs to be done ahead of time. The Circuit Clerk (in other states, sometimes called the “Clerk of Court”), in the county where you received your ticket or were arrested may be able to supply this information regarding a continuance.

If you miss court, you should call the Circuit Clerk (or Clerk of Court) as soon as possible to find out what happened in your case. If a conviction was entered against you by default, you may be able to petition the court to vacate the conviction and allow you to seek a trial or some more favorable outcome. The right to petition or ”motion” the court to vacate a conviction must be exercised promptly, usually within 30 days. Again, seek an attorney’s advice as soon as possible.