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Ok, it doesn’t happen often but let me tell you a little thing about court dates and how you can—occasionally—skate on that speeding ticket (or other charge). Here in Wake County where I practice it sometimes happens that the cop gives you a speeding ticket or whatever, writes the court date down on it (or prints it if it’s an e-citation), but it doesn’t ever show up in the system.


Maybe your info wasn’t entered into the court system…

See, the cop writes out the ticket and then the information is entered into the AOC administrative office of the courts database along with your court date. Now SOMETIMES, somewhere between the cop turning in the traffic citation and the clerk entering the information in the system, SOMETIMES something odd happens and the info doesn’t get entered. So while you may HAVE A TRAFFIC TICKET that says your court date is so and so, the deal is that when you go to court on that date, even though it appears to be your court date, since the cop said so on the traffic ticket itself, the court has not assigned the case to any court room and it doesn’t even appear on any court docket. This can happen for a few reasons:

  1. The first and most likely is that the cop simply didn’t turn in the traffic ticket so that the information can be entered by the clerk of court (maybe the ticket is still in his big pad of carbon traffic tickets).
  2. On the other hand maybe he did turn it in but the traffic ticket information hasn’t been entered by the clerk of court.
  3. I suppose a final possibility is that in the instance of an e-citation the cop forgot to hit “send” and transmit the info electronically to the clerk of court.


You still need to show up at court

Now then: You need to go to court on your court date of course to find out if this is the case. In Wake county, if they do not find your case (they tell you your case is not in the system) they’ll usually give you a letter or something that you can have that says you were there but no one could lay hands on the ticket and it wasn’t assigned to any court docket. Your responsibility is to keep an eye out and make sure that you don’t get a notice in the mail (it would be mailed to the address that’s on the traffic ticket) telling you that they found the ticket and your new court date is ______. If you miss that notice, you could be in trouble for not going to court or even be subject to arrest or having your license suspended, depending on the exact nature of the charge.


But sometimes it never shows up at all!

The good news is that SOMETIMES the traffic ticket never shows up at all. This happens most usually when the ticket is an old carbon paper hand written traffic citation and not the new e-citations (probably because when it’s a carbon ticket once it’s lost it’s pretty much lost but if it’s an e-citation the cop has some digitized record that he can submit later). Now listen to me: Just because you aren’t assigned a court date (even though your traffic ticket has one) it doesn’t always mean the ticket has been lost forever, but it does mean that there is some chance that it will never show up. And if that happens, well, congratulations! NO record of the case in court means no case in court means YOU’RE NOT IN TROUBLE!


But hey, don’t sweat this out by yourself. Lawyers are in court every day to see what’s on the court docket. Don’t try and go it alone! Post your case on and have a lawyer help you!

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