Mandatory Appearances. The citation indicates whether or not you are required to appear. If you are required to and do not appear, you are at risk of a warrant being issued for your arrest. To avoid that if you are unable to appear, call the court clerk, explain your circumstance and request a different date.
Non-mandatory Appearances. If you are not required to appear, you have several choices.
- You can pay the deposit (forfeiture) amount prior to the initial appearance (IA) date. If you do that and do not appear in court, you will be found guilty, the deposited money will be forfeited and the case will be closed.
- You can appear on the IA date and enter a plea.
- You can call the court clerk before the IA date and enter a plea.
- You can enter a plea by mail, to be received before the IA date. Be sure to include the citation number, your current mailing address and telephone number.
- You can call the court clerk and ask for a different IA date (an “adjournment”).
- Note: If you do not appear on the IA date or an adjournment, the court will enter a plea of no contest on your behalf, find you guilty by default, and impose a forfeiture. A notice will be mailed to you and you will be given a due date (approximately 60 days) to pay the forfeiture. If you do not pay on or before the due date and do not appear in court at 11:00 a.m. or 6:00 p,m. on the due date to request more time, the court will issue an order to suspend your driving privileges or sentence you to jail for a certain number of days.
Your Mailing Address. If your mailing address is different than the address shown on your citation, you should immediately call the Court Clerk in order to best assure that you will receive information about your case. It is very important that you personally notify the court clerk of any address changes that occur while your case is still active. “Active” includes waiting for trial, or everything has been resolved except you owe a forfeiture in whole or in part. The court relies heavily on the mail to notify you of matters related to your case. Consequently, it is in your best interest to directly contact the court clerk if your address changes. Do not rely solely on a change-of-address filed with the post office. Courts are very skeptical about people claiming that they did not receive something that was mailed to them, and may not be very receptive to a claimant who did not inform the court directly of an address change.