If you get in trouble with the law, it is important to read up on your rights and cooperate accordingly to avoid further punishment. Traffic tickets have numerous consequences when they are on your record, but failing to show up to the assigned court date can yield even worse results.

If you fail to show up for the court date, you must resolve this issue immediately. It is important that you are aware of what the courts can do to you if continue to put off this obligation.

The punishments

Typically, the court will allow you 20 days to make up for your missing day. If you do not appear in this time frame, then they will mark you down for a failure to appear (FTA) and charge you $200 in late fees in addition to what you owe for the initial ticket.

Once they mark you down, the county clerk of court will report your FTA to the North Carolina DMV. The DMV will send you a letter warning you that they will revoke your license if you do not handle your court case by a certain deadline.

Further failure to comply will result in more penalty fees. Out-of-state drivers are unable to renew their license in their home state until their North Carolina ticket is resolved.

If the case for your traffic ticket is more severe such as a misdemeanor for reckless driving, the court may not adhere to the 20-day rule and will issue a warrant out for your arrest alongside the FTA and other fines.

The solution

The North Carolina Judicial Branch recommends that you contact your county’s clerk of court’s office as soon as you realize you missed your original court date. Cooperate to schedule an appropriate time for your make up court date and give yourself plenty of reminders to make it this time.

Make sure you also have your address up to date with the DMV. If not, you will not receive the warning letters from them about your fees and potential license revoke.

It is important that you write down when your court date is to avoid these punishments. Even if your traffic law penalty is not severe enough for an arrest warrant, missing your court date can cost you more money and your license.