A party can find out if he has a court date pending by visiting the online database of the cases of the court in which his case is being heard. Usually, he can search the court’s online database simply by using his full name (both last name and first name). However, he also may need his case or citation number, the type of case in which he will appear (such as traffic or criminal), and the name of the opposing party.
An Attorney Can Provide Information
The party's attorney should provide her with the time and date of her pending court date. Often, an attorney appears in place of the client. If a party has hired an attorney to help her with her research, but she is representing yourself, she must appear in court.
PACER Is for Federal Courts
If a party is appearing in a federal case in a U.S. district, bankruptcy or appellate court, he can search for his pending court date in the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. He can also search for his court date in the individual federal court’s database of cases. PACER does not contain dates for state court cases.
When a Case Is Unknown
Sometimes a party has a pending court case but is unaware of it. This is usually because the party has not received a summons, which is an official notice of the legal matter. If a party is surprised to find out that she has an upcoming court date, she should contact the court to explain she was not properly served with a summons. She should ask the court how to request an alternate court date. Requesting an alternate court date may require the party to communicate with the opposing party or the opposing party's attorney.
Some Cases Are Hidden
A party may not be able to search online for certain pending court cases. Information about certain court cases is kept private. Court case databases usually do not contain information concerning juvenile court cases, sealed cases, cases involved unserved orders of protection, mental health and probate cases. A party also may not be able to search a court case database for victim and witness data.
If a party has a court date pending for a case that cannot be viewed in an online database, he should contact the court. The best way to contact the court is with an in-person visit. The party must prove he is authorized to be told the date.
How to Cancel Traffic Court
A party cited for a traffic infraction can cancel the pending court date by pleading guilty and paying the traffic fine, which may be called bail. The party should send her payment and a copy of the citation or reminder notice to the courthouse. If the citation includes a correctable violation, such as an expired registration, the party should mail proof of correction with the other documents. If the citation has not been corrected, the party must appear in court to determine the proper fine amount. Once the court has received the payment, the case will be closed.
Dealing With a Subpoenae
A party can be subpoenaed when an attorney or litigant issues a subpoena which requires the party to testify in court. A party can be called to testify as a witness in a case in which he is not the defendant or the plaintiff. The party may be required to bring certain papers to court. If a party is subpoenaed, he should be served with the subpoena. The subpoena contains the date on which he must appear.
- Washington Courts: Find My Court Date Searches
- Superior Court, County of San Diego: Calendar Search
- The Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles: Online Services
- Hillsborough County, Florida: Clerk of Court & Comptroller
- Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts: Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER)
- California Courts: Traffic & Ticket Basics
- California Courts: Notices to Attend a Hearing & Subpoenas
- Arizona Judicial Branch: Public Access to Court Information
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.