What exactly happens if you’re late to court? One of the surest ways to lose the respect of the judge and courtroom, and to show disrespect to the court proceedings is to be late to your court date. Court etiquette demands that you show up on time.

Whether your court hearing is for a large crime or a minor traffic violation, judges demand that you take it seriously. You can show respect in a variety of ways, including the way you’re dressed and the way you behave, but nothing can show disrespect more easily than coming into the courtroom late.

Make sure you show up on time, prepared, and with enough time to get yourself situated in the courtroom.

If You’re Out of Town

If you receive your court summons and notice that it is scheduled for a day when you will be out of town, then it is perfectly acceptable to call the clerk’s office and ask them to reschedule your court date. Court dates are issued based on the date of the offense and the date the case is filed, so there is a range of days during which you can be called into court.

If you are unable to show up to court, and the clerk is unable to reschedule, then for some cases you have the ability to hire an attorney to show up to court for you, and can handle your case without you being present.

Do not wait until the last minute to reschedule your court date or hire a lawyer to represent you at your court date if you are unable to make it. Call as soon as possible to schedule a new court date.

Can You Walk into Court Late?

If you find yourself running late on the way to your court date, do not avoid the court date. Even if you are late, not to show up will lead to the judge charging you with failure to appear and issuing a warrant for your arrest.

Try to contact the clerk on the phone while you’re en route if you know you will be late, so that at least they know you are coming. When you arrive, expect to be sternly reminded that you are severely at fault for not being on time. Own up to the fact that you were late, and there shouldn’t be any problems after that.


A court date, no matter how light of a charge, is nothing to play around with. Leave early, leave extra early to get there on time, and make sure everything you do shows that you are showing the utmost respect for the court and the proceedings.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case. Contact us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.

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Courtroom Etiquette: What Should I Wear to Court & How Should I Behave?

Can You Wear Jeans to Court?


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