WHAT TO DO IF YOU CANNOT MAKE A COURT APPEARANCE

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FAILURE TO APPEAR IN COURT CAN LEAD TO YOUR ARREST AND INCARCERATION, SEE
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON'T SHOW UP FOR COURT.

If you cannot appear in Municipal Court, do as many of the the following as soon as you can:

  • If you are a witness, and were subpoenaed or asked to appear by the prosecuting attorney, call the prosecuting attorney, see FREQUENTLY NEEDED PHONE NUMBERS. When you call, be sure to have the case number from the subpoena, if you have one. (The case number is usually in the upper right-hand corner of the subpoena. Case numbers beginning with a "C" are handled by the county prosecutor. The city prosecutor handles most other cases.)
  • If you are a witness, and were subpoenaed or asked to appear by the defense attorney, call the defense attorney; if it is a public defender, see FREQUENTLY NEEDED PHONE NUMBERS. When you call, be sure to have the case number from the subpoena, if you have one. (The case number is usually in the upper right-hand corner of the subpoena.)
  • If you are a defendant or a party to a case and have an attorney representing you, call the attorney as soon as you know you cannot appear as scheduled.
  • Call the bailiff in the courtroom in which you are scheduled to appear. If you don't know which courtroom, see HOW TO FIND WHEN & WHERE A CASE WILL BE HEARD.  See also COURTROOM PHONE NUMBERS. Explain to the bailiff why you cannot appear. (If you have an attorney, ask the attorney first if you should call the courtroom. If so, be sure to tell the bailiff your attorney's name.) Please be aware that an arrest warrant may still be issued for your failure to appear, even if you call the courtroom.
  • Unless your attorney tells you otherwise, send a relative or a trusted friend to appear in court and explain why you cannot appear. Be sure your friend or relative knows where you are supposed to appear, see HOW TO FIND WHEN & WHERE A CASE WILL BE HEARD. Again, an arrest warrant may still be issued for your failure to appear. 
     Please keep in mind that whether an arrest warrant is issued for your failure to appear, whether you are granted a continuance, or whether some other action is taken because you failed to appear is up to the judge before whom you were scheduled to appear. In appropriate cases, sanctions for failure to appear may include a person being prohibited from getting a driver's license, license plates or transferring a vehicle.
     Taking some action to inform court authorities you cannot appear will almost certainly be better than doing nothing at all. 

     If you missed a court appearance and want to know what to do next, see WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON'T SHOW UP FOR COURT and see HOW TO FIND WHEN & WHERE A CASE WILL BE HEARD.

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