How to Look Up Court Dates
If you have been summoned to appear before a judge it is vital that you not miss your court date. In most cases, of course, you will be well aware of when your court date is. Circumstances may arise, however, where you need to find your upcoming court date. If you don't know when your court date is, be sure to find it as quickly as possible. Failing to appear in court after being summoned could result in a fine or criminal penalties. Alternatively, you may also want to find the court date of a friend, family member, or an individual in the community or in the media. Because court records are public, it is usually fairly easy to find court dates of most people, either through using online or offline resources.
Many jurisdictions in the United States now allow the public to look up court dates online. While being able to look up court dates online is convenient, it is not always as straightforward as it may sound. Each state and, often, county maintains its own online database for searching court dates. What this means is that you will need to know beforehand the jurisdiction your case is being tried in. The jurisdiction will usually be determined by where the offense occurred, especially in criminal cases. Because each county and state maintains different online databases, the information you will need in order to find your own court case will vary depending on jurisdiction. Generally, however, if you have your case number then you should be able to enter that into the search field. Your case number will appear on any official communication you have received that pertains to your case. Many jurisdictions will also allow you to enter the defendant's full name and, possibly, birth date in order to find upcoming court appearances.
If you are having difficulty using the online options or your particular county or state does not yet offer an online search engine for court dates then you may have to pursue more traditional offline methods. Your first choice is to simply check any official correspondence you have received in relation to your case. Your court date will likely be displayed somewhere on these documents. You can also call the court directly so long as you know the court where your case is being tried. The court clerk will ask for certain information, such as your case number, name, and/or birth date, to help you find your upcoming court dates. Of course, you can also visit the court in person and speak directly to the court clerk. You may also have retained an attorney who will also have kept records of your court dates and who should be able to remind you of when your next court appearance is.
Court dates are not something to be taken lightly. While being summoned before a judge can be an intimidating experience, it is imperative that you not miss your court appearance. Because almost all courts in the U.S. nowadays offer a variety of tools for looking up court dates, finding when your own appearance is expected to take place should be an easy and quick task.
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