I have been charged with a crime but do not have a court date, what can I do?
Updated: Mar 22
Sometimes people are arrested, given a citation, or given a notice to appear for a criminal case, but are unsure as to what to do next or when their court date is. If you believe you do not have a court date, it is more than likely that you do and may not have been notified of it. So what can you do?
First and foremost, check any paperwork you may have to make sure that you did not overlook the date. If you were given a traffic citation or a notice to appear, the date for you to appear will generally be at the bottom of the front of the ticket. If you were arrested and bonded out of jail, the jail should have given you a paper with your next court date on it; check among all your release papers. If you have already been to one court date and the case was continued, then you should have received a court appearance record (usually a yellow paper) with your next court date on it.
If you have checked all of the paperwork given to you and do not see a court date on it, do not panic, there are some other ways of finding out your next date. If you have hired an attorney or have been appointed by the public defender, call them and ask them when your next court date is. The attorney or their assistant should know or they can look it up for you.
Also, many local county clerks of court sites will allow for online searches and will often list the next scheduled court appearance. This information is available to the public and you can search from your home or office computer. If the clerk of court for your area does not have an online search option, then you should try to call them and they can likely look it up for you.
Since the law is a human creation and humans make mistakes, it is possible that an officer did not write down a date on the ticket, the clerk did not give you a new date, or the jail forgot to hand you a notice of court date. If you have tried all of the above to no avail, then contact your attorney if you have one and let them know they need to notify the court that there is no date set for your case.
While you may want to forget all about your criminal charge, and understandably so, the worst thing you can do is give up and assume you do not have a court date and not do anything about it. It is very likely that you will be given a bench warrant and arrested for failing to appear. If you are having trouble figuring out your court date and need help, please call Soler & Simon at (941) 444-5128.