Generally speaking, making it to court when you’re supposed to be there should be pretty high on your list of priorities. Like a wedding, a birth, or the first day of school, a court date is a set event that will not wait for you to catch up, so you need to plan your life around it to the best of your ability to make sure you can make an appearance.
Sometimes, however, life is not that simple, and you may end up not being able to make your court date. If you’ve been ordered to attend court (as either a defendant or a witness) and are unable to go, then there are several steps you should take to make sure you don’t suffer serious consequences. To learn more about these consequences, you can read our blog “What Happens If You Miss Your Court Date,” and in today’s post, our bail bond agents are going over what you can do to avoid these penalties when you have no choice but to miss court.
If You Need To Reschedule Your Court Date
Sometimes, you may know well in advance that you need to reschedule your court date. Depending on the complexity of your case, you may want to push a court appearance because:
- You need more time to prepare
- You or a key witness in your case will be out of town
- You need to delay the case longer to avoid accumulating additional points on your license from having multiple infractions within a certain timeframe
If you want to reschedule your court date, there are several steps you can take. The court is under no obligation to grant your request, but they will be willing to consider it as long as you:
- Contact your lawyer: If you are working with an attorney, fill them in first. They may be able to reschedule your court date without any further action required from you.
- Contact the court: Call your county court clerk (or have your lawyer call) as far ahead of your court date as possible and explain that you are trying to reschedule a court appearance. They will be able to give you more information about how to proceed. Make sure to pay close attention to any special instructions and time frames.
- File any paperwork: If the clerk provided you with forms to fill out, make sure you do so and return them promptly. Some courts may only require you to send in a letter. Others may require that you go in person at a specified time to submit your forms. This may be all you need to do to reschedule your court date.
- Tell your bail bondsman: If you worked with a bail bond agent to be released on a surety bond, then make sure they are in the loop and know that you are requesting a different court date.
- Get to court early on the scheduled date: If you can, show up to court early on your original court date. You may be able to speak politely with the court clerk, let them know you are requesting a continuance, and ask whether your appearance can be moved up so that you don’t have to wait all day for your case to be called.
- Request a continuance: When your name is called at court, you (or your lawyer) may ask the judge for a continuance. They will ask for a reason, and if a permissible excuse is given, they may set a new date.
These are helpful steps for when you know far in advance that you want to reschedule your court date, but what happens when an emergency prevents you from appearing?
If You Need To Miss Court Due to an Emergency
Sometimes, factors outside of your control may prevent you from appearing in court when you are called. Possible scenarios include:
- Car accidents
- Serious health issues or medical emergencies
- Being held in custody for another offense
- Death of an immediate family member
Some judges may also be willing to grant postponements for less serious issues like needing to work, being out of town, or having to watch family, but it’s entirely up to their discretion. It’s best to show the courts that you take your case seriously enough to appear except in an emergency.
As soon as you know you won’t be able to make it to court, you need to:
- Contact your lawyer: If you have a lawyer, or access to a public attorney, contact them at once to let them know what is happening. They can work to get your court date rescheduled or appear in court on your behalf to explain your absence.
- Contact the court: If you can, notify the court that you are seeking a postponement due to an emergency. You can also have your lawyer do this, but it’s always best to have multiple documents and a stronger paper trail proving that you did what you could ahead of time.
- Contact your bail bond agent: If you worked with a bail bondsman, let them know what’s going on. They may be able to help! After all, they have a vested interest in making sure that you are in good favor with the courts so that you can get your bail money back.
If You’ve Already Missed Court Due to an Emergency
If you’ve already missed your court date, don’t panic. You can work with an attorney to communicate with the courts and rectify the situation. Even if additional charges or a bench warrant have been issued against you, you may be able to have them dropped if you can explain your absence within a certain period of time after the missed court date.
Contact Affordable Bail Bonds for Immediate Help
If you or your loved one are being held in custody in Muskogee County or elsewhere in Oklahoma, contact the Affordable Bail Bonds team today. The phones at our surety bond company are open 24/7, and our bail bondsmen can not only help you get out of custody fast, but also help you understand when and where you need to be to make sure you get your bail returned.
Don’t spend another moment behind bars. Partner with our trusted team to get back on track today!