“I missed a court date! Now what?”
We hear that every now and then in our Milwaukee legal office, and the first thing we tell people is not to panic. The bottom line is that there are many reasons someone might miss a court date, ranging from a family emergency to simply not feeling like showing up.
Court dates are mandatory in criminal cases, though, which means if you miss one, you’re likely to face consequences unless you can show the court that you had a genuine emergency. If you missed a court date, know that the judge in your case has the option to send you to jail and raise your bail. That’s because by posting bail, you promised the court that you’d show up when you were supposed to.
What to Do if You Missed a Court Date
If you missed a court date in Milwaukee or any other city in Wisconsin, you may want to call your attorney and ask for case-specific advice. (Likewise, if you know you can’t make it ahead of time, you need to call your lawyer. He or she might be able to reschedule, which is far better than missing a court date without letting anyone know.)
Remember, if you miss court, the judge in your case will issue a warrant for your arrest. Once that happens, there might not be a lot your attorney can do for you other than advise you to turn yourself in. When you turn yourself in, you or your attorney may be able to explain the situation to the court commissioner. Sometimes, the commissioner will let people go with a signature bond or require them to post bail.
If you have any documentation that explains why you missed court, such as a note from a doctor or your timecard showing that you were at work, bring it with you when you turn yourself in.
It’s better to turn yourself in than it is to wait until the police arrest you. When you turn yourself in, you have a better chance to show the court that you didn’t ignore your court date and that you’re interested in keeping your case on track.