Going to court is rarely a convenient experience. A court appearance can frequently last for hours, and the travel time of going back and forth can make a court appearance last all day. You rarely have any say on when your court date will be scheduled, and work commitments and other issues frequently interfere with the date the court requests. The legal system does allow for court date extensions, however, if they are approved in advance by the court.
Assemble any documentation and evidence you have supporting that you cannot appear on the scheduled date. If you are scheduled for surgery, for example, you will need to have a doctor's note. Work requirements need to be in writing (and courts frequently will not accept them as a valid excuse) and if you need to be out of the country, you would need proof of travel arrangements.
Visit the courthouse where you are scheduled to appear. Some situations allow you to request extensions over the phone, fax, mail or online, but those requirements vary greatly. Going to the courthouse guarantees that you will speak to whom you need to speak to and file what you need to file.
Present copies of your evidence to a court secretary and explain why you are supposed to be in court. The secretary can provide you with any forms that you need to fill out or he can process the request then and there. Supply the copies of evidence with any forms that you submit.
Await a decision. Depending on the court and the case, you may get a response immediately or you might have to wait several weeks depending on when the court date is scheduled. If you get an extension approved, it is unlikely you will get a second one.
- File for an extension as soon as you can. The closer you are to your court date, the less likely an extension will be granted. Many courts require at least 10 days' advance notice.
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