Houston Criminal Law Blog


What You Should Do if You Miss Your Court Date

Texas criminal courts place a great deal of importance on setting a schedule and sticking to it. A strict schedule allows the courthouse to dispose of cases in the most efficient way possible. When someone misses a court date, a judge may decide to punish that person for hampering the case flow.

If missing your appointment with a judge is unavoidable, there are certain steps that you can take to avoid a penalty.

You Didn’t Show Up, Now What?

After failing to appear, fast action is required. Many times, a judge will order a warrant to be issued for the arrest of the person who did not show up for their appearance. In some cases, there is a window of time for the delinquent person to contact the courthouse before a warrant is issued. To take advantage of this allotted time, it is important to:

  • Make an appearance as soon as possible: The best way to “ask for mercy” is to make an appearance in person the next day; simply making a call is not sufficient. Appearing in the courtroom to explain the reason for the no-show demonstrates a good-faith effort to abide by the established rules.
  • Call your lawyer: A lawyer will know the best way to communicate to try to avoid any penalties. People who work in the legal system have to deal with missed appearances on a regular basis and may be able to reach an agreement regarding a particular defendant. However, the lawyer can’t be of much help unless he or she knows the reason for the no-show, so it’s important to call immediately.
  • Provide a valid reason for skipping: It is usually possible to provide proof or documentation of the reason for delinquency. For example, in the case of a medical emergency, a note from a doctor can provide a valid reason for neglecting to appear to the courthouse. If documentation cannot be obtained, a lawyer may be able to get a statement from a witness to submit to the judge.

If you inadvertently skipped your court day, get help from The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp at 713-868-6100.

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