Use Care When Changing Your Virginia Traffic Court Date

If you have a Virginia traffic ticket, you have to be extra careful when attempting to change the court date. Don’t make a mistake or assume the clerk processed your fax. You could end up convicted in your absence.


I’ve had this video transcribed below for visitors who prefer to read the content.

Hello I’m Andrew Flusche. If you have a traffic charge in Virginia, you have to be very careful about the deadline that’s on the summons you received from the officer. I get many contacts from people who say that they attempted to continue a case or have it rescheduled from the summons date, and they were convicted in their absence because the court didn’t reschedule the case. Unfortunately, the burden is on you as the defendant to either be in court on the date that you’re summoned, or to ensure that the court has continued the case. Calling the court, or faxing the court, or even sending a letter is simply not enough. You have to do the work of following through to make sure that the court has processed the continuance and moved the case to a later date.

That’s one benefit of having an attorney, honestly, because that is something that we do almost every day, is continue cases and we know how our courts work where we practice. In my office, that is something we have to do a lot for scheduling so we can definitely help with the continuances, especially in the Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Stafford area. If you hire us for a case, it’s simple for us quite honestly. However, if you’re proceeding by yourself sometimes it’s not as obvious what you need to do. And because the clerks can’t give legal advice, sometimes they are limited in the things they can do and say.

But they key thing is, if you need to reschedule a court date, you usually can on the first court date. Most clerk’s offices in our local area will let you reschedule from your first date, but the burden is on you to make sure that you’re getting it rescheduled and that it has in fact been moved, and that you’re not going to be tried and convicted in your absence. Because if you simply fax a letter to the court and assume that they’re taking care of everything, odds are that they might not have done it; it could be misplaced, or it might not have the proper date, or it might not be processed correctly. There are many reasons why a continuance request might not go through.

If it hasn’t been continued and the court date that’s listed on your summons comes along and you’re not there, you will be convicted in your absence. The worst thing that could happen actually is if you’re facing a very serious reckless driving charge for a very high speed, for instance, you might actually have a capias issued for your arrest for not appearing. That would not be a very good situation.

As you can see, it’s really important, if you need to change your court date from the date on your summons, to either talk with an attorney who can help you with that and help you with the whole case, or to be sure you follow through solidly and make sure that the clerk’s office has processed the continuance and moved the date to the date you agreed on.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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