My courtesy notice was late! (or never arrived!)

Question: Late courtesy notice: I was recently cited but did not receive a courtesy notice until over 4 weeks later. Is there a required time limit between the two events that was exceeded here?

Answer: No. In fact, the court is under no obligation to send the “courtesy notice.” It is merely a “courtesy” that helps the court process loads of tickets faster. Many drivers are not aware of this, and will do nothing until their courtesy notice arrives. This can lead to trouble when they miss their appearance date while waiting for a courtesy notice.

If the court totally blows you off and does not sent a notice, you are still obligated to appear on the date noted at the bottom of your ticket. By signing the citation, you “promised to appear” on this date, for which you were released without posting bail. If you miss this date, they typically find you guilty of the original charge while adding on a Failure to Appear (FTA) charge and an additional $250 fine. Some courts will even suspend your license for a Failure to Appear and issue a warrant for your arrest. If you then get stopped by a cop, they’ll charge you with “driving on a suspended license” while enforcing the FTA charge.

It’s an easily avoidable mess of trouble. You are in charge of your own defense. Be pro-active. Don’t miss your deadlines. Do not rely on the court for anything.¬†

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