I Missed My Court Date, What Now?


Many people traveling through kern county get tickets or citations to appear in court for various offenses such as DUI, speeding ticket or other criminal matters.  It is common for the officer to simply “cite and release” the offender to appear on some future date for arraignment.  But what happens if the person blows the court date and doesn’t show up, either intentionally or inadvertently?

The answer depends on the type of case.  If the offense was for a misdemeanor or felony criminal case then he or she will need to appear and have the warrant recalled or hire a lawyer to file a motion to recall the bench warrant and set a new court date.  This can be done either through the court clerks office or the sheriffs department.  The warrant issued will typically be high in nature, in many cases 25,000 or more, the purpose of which is to ensure the scofflaw will be located and picked up and brought to court rather than again cited and released.

if the case is a traffic ticket such as speeding then the offender can simple call the court if the violation was an infraction and the missed date was within 7 days, to request a new arraignment date.  If the citation was beyond the week time period then the violator will need to appear in person or retain a lawyer to appear and have the failure to appear withdrawn.  Once the appearance is made a trial date can be set and the case can be fully litigated.

The important thing to remember when trying to resolve any case in kern county is that there are 8 courts within the territory.  Many folks think that the only court is the main courthouse in Bakersfield, that is incorrect.  If you were stopped near the grapevine your case will likely be heard in Lamont , if your ticket was issued heading out towards Las Vegas your case will most likely be located in Mojave Court, etc.

There is one last additional method to clear some misdemeanor charges such as drunk driving or DWI.  That is you can post a bail bond after you turn yourself in to the jail.  This method is not preferred because most often an attorney can secure a release on OR, meaning you do not have to pay the additional money for the bond.

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