“Do I have to show up for my court date?” Surprisingly, we get asked this question quite a bit. The short answer. Yes. Going to court is not optional. Unless other arrangements have been made, it is mandatory that you show up for your scheduled court date.

Let us be clear. The courts do not care that your scheduled court date doesn’t fit in with your current plans. Nor do the courts care if your scheduled court date interferes with your job, your school, a planned vacation, or really any other reason or excuse you can come up with.

Your court date should be your top priority!

Skipping your court date is not advisable and can have serious consequences. (We are talking warrants and going to jail type consequences) When you receive a court summons or notice, it is typically mandatory for you to appear on the specified date. Failing to attend your court date can result in various negative outcomes.

Here are the Top 5 Things that can happen if you choose to skip your court date.

  1. Issuance of Warrant: If you don’t appear in court as required, the judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest. This means that you will have a warrant for your arrest. Law enforcement can arrest you and you can be held without bail until your next scheduled court date to make sure you show up.


  1. Contempt of Court: Skipping a court date is considered contempt of court, which is a serious offense. Contempt of court charges can lead to fines, additional penalties, or even imprisonment.


  1. Forfeiture of Bail: If you posted bail to be released before the trial, failing to appear in court may lead to the forfeiture of the bail amount. This means you lose the money or collateral you provided to secure your release.


  1. Negative Impact on Your Case: Failing to appear in court can negatively impact your case. The judge may proceed with the trial in your absence, and the opposing party’s arguments may go uncontested.


  1. Additional Charges: Avoiding your court date could result in additional criminal charges usually referred to as an FTA (Failure to Appear), making your legal troubles worse.

Ready to discuss your case? Contact Top Criminal Defense Attorney Trip Walton and his experienced criminal defense team for your free initial case consultation*

If you have a legitimate reason for not being able to attend your court date [not feeling like going, having class, or unable to get off work are not considered legitimate reasons], it is crucial to communicate this to the court as soon as possible. You may need to request a rescheduling or explain the circumstances leading to your inability to appear. However, also please be aware that even if you are granted a continuance, it will be on the date and time that the court chooses. Neither you nor your attorney have the option to request a specific date and time.

It’s advisable to consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney, like Trip Walton, if you are facing criminal charges.

Criminal charges are not a joking matter and should not be taken lightly. The courts, the judges, the prosecutors, and everyone involved are not taking your charges lightly – and neither should you.

Final Word:

You are not special. You will not get special treatment. The courts and your attorney (if you have one) expect you to be at court at the specific date and time that was assigned to you.



**portions of this blog were written with assistance from chatgpt

Do you have criminal charges in Auburn, Opelika or East Alabama and need to speak to an experienced member of our legal team? Call the offices of Walton Law Firm today at 334-321-3000