How to postpone a court date
How to Postpone a Court Date
There are many reasons you might want or need to postpone, or in legal terms obtain a continuance for, a civil court date. If you cannot physically be present for your court date, there are two avenues to pursue to postpone the date: by obtaining permission from the court; or by agreeing to postponement with the opposing counsel. If you can be present in court but are not prepared for your case, you can appear in person on the day of the court date and ask the judge for more time. Due to differing state laws and local rules, it is always best to consult with an experienced lawyer before proceeding. If you do not have an attorney to direct you as to the right course of action, consult the steps below.
Requesting a Continuance Before the Date
Contact the court.Call or visit the clerk’s office of the court that is handling your case and explain why you cannot attend the scheduled date. The clerk will inform you how continuances are handled in that state, county, or city.
- In most cases, obtaining a continuance will need to be handled a certain number of days in advance of the court date. Contact the court as soon as you are aware you cannot attend to give yourself ample time.
- When communicating with the clerk have your court date, case number, and any other relevant information available.
Take the directed action.If the reason you cannot attend is an appropriate basis for a continuance, the court will inform you what forms or motions must be filed with the court.
- The exact forms or motions that need to be filed will vary based on the state or local rules or even the rules that the judge has set for her own courtroom.
- For instance, in most civil cases in Illinois, to change a court date, you will be required to file a motion to continue. Some common reasons that form the basis of that motion are because you cannot be present because you will be out of town, in the hospital, or incarcerated. You may also file a motion to continue because you need to hire an attorney or because a key witness or piece of evidence will not be available on the scheduled day.
Confirm the continuance.After you take the necessary action, contact the court’s office again to ensure that the continuance was approved and the date was rescheduled. Do not skip the original date until you receive confirmation of cancellation of the original date and a rescheduled date.
Agreeing to a Postponement with the Opposing Counsel
Contact the opposing counsel.Documents that you receive from the court about the court date will most likely include the contact information of the opposing parties’ attorney. If that information is not readily identifiable, the court clerk’s office can provide that information to you.
Come to an agreement.Despite the adversarial nature of litigation proceedings, most of the time opposing counsel are reasonable people who might be might be agreeable to postponing the date if you simply ask. The opposing counsel will also be knowledgeable about how to go about continuing the date and whether it is possible given the circumstances. Be sure to put any agreement to postpone in writing.
Ensure that the postponement has been approved.In the case that you are able to come to an agreement to postpone the date, the court still needs to approve that continuance. Contact the court in advance of the date and confirm that the date has been changed.
- Do not simply rely on the word of the opposing counsel, as it is still an adversarial process and only you or your own lawyer can protect your rights.
- In many cases, the court will be more likely to grant the continuance if the both parties are in agreement about the postponement.
- Try to maintain a civil and businesslike relationship with the opposing counsel when discussing scheduling and the case in general.
Requesting a Continuance on the Date in Person
Attend the court date.If you desire a postponement of the date because you simply need more time, you can opt to attend and ask the judge for more time on that date.
- Check in with the judge’s clerk when you arrive. Tell them what case you are there for and that you would like to ask the judge for a continuance.
- It is always good advice to be punctual, dressed for court, and polite to the judge and all the court employees when attending a court date.
- Be sure to bring all documentation that is relevant to both your court date and the reason or reasons for the postponement.
Ask for more time.When the judge calls your case, approach the bench, and explain to the judge why you need more time to prepare your case.
Obtain confirmation.If the judge allows the continuance, the judge or clerk will give you confirmation, most likely in the form of a court order, of the postponement and the new date.
QuestionCan I postpone a court date due to a death in the family?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can request to excuse yourself for personal reasons.Thanks!
QuestionCan I move the court to one closer to me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIn general, no. However, there are some exceptions, so you could phone the court and ask the court officers if any apply to you.Thanks!
QuestionIf I feel that a judge is biased, am I allowed to ask another to be assigned to my case?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you can petition the court to have the venue moved or ask for a jury trial.Thanks!
QuestionWhy would police defer my court case date?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSomething else may have become more important for them, pushing back your court date. An issue may have unexpectedly arose.Thanks!
QuestionWill a piercing influence a judge in court?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA judge is supposed to be impartial and only look at the issues of law at hand. However, many judges end up making some level of assumption based on appearance, due to human nature.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I reschedule a court date for a speeding ticket in London, Ontario?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou could request a continuance when you appear at your initial court date. However, unless you've got an absolutely compelling case, it's probably best, and cheaper, to pay the fine.Thanks!
QuestionCan I postpone a civil trial date in Alabama if I have surgery?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, law does postpone certain trials and court dates for prior important matters, especially medical treatment.Thanks!
QuestionI missed my hearing date what are my options?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAsk your lawyer to see if you can have a second chance to be on time and tell them the truth about what you were doing on the day of the hearing.Thanks!
QuestionShould I have a trial for a ticket that is under 0?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on the situation. In most cases, speeding, running a light, etc., no. But if you do something higher up the legal scale, it might require a trial to get the issue resolved.Thanks!
QuestionWhat happens if I am a juror and a case is postponed?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou wait for further information and instructions from the court.Thanks!
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Can I ask for a new court date if I need to hire a new lawyer?
If both parties are in requesting a postponement, can you postpone a divorce court date the morning of the date, due to reaching a tentative agreement but still needing to work out a few more details?
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- Failure to be present if you have not received a continuance can result in extremely negative consequences including money penalties, loss of rights, and even incarceration. Be sure to confirm that your court date has in fact been confirmed before deciding not to attend the original date.
- Because state and local laws and rules of procedure as well as types of court cases can vary considerably it is always advisable to seek the advice of an experienced attorney when faced with a legal issue such as this.
- Contact your local city or state bar association for a list of attorneys, firms, or nonprofit organizations.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, local nonprofit organizations can often help you obtain one at low or no cost.
Video: How to Request a New Court Date
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