I can’t appear on my scheduled court date. What do I do?
Failing to appear in the County Courts at Law is a criminal offense titled "Failure to Appear", a class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $4000.00, a jail sentence of up to 365 days in jail or both.
The only acceptable reasons for changing your court date are:
- You are scheduled for court in another county-this requires that you submit a copy of your notice to appear from the other court
- Illness-this requires a verification from a doctor or hospital that you are too ill to appear
- Illness of a minor child (this requires the same verification as above)
- Death in your immediate family-requires a copy of the obituary naming you as a surviving relative
Work schedules, school conflicts or transportation issues are not reasons for changing or missing your court date. You must notify the court BEFORE your court date. If you are represented by attorney, please notify him/her immediately and they can follow the correct procedure to request a continuance. If you are not represented by an attorney and one of the reasons listed above apply, you may call the County Clerk’s office at (361) 575-1478 and supply the required verification to them by fax at (361) 575-6276. Only the Judge may grant a continuance, so they will pass that information to the Judge and let you know the outcome.