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What Will Happen if I Don't Turn Up at Court?

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 4 Jul 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
What Will Happen If I Don't Turn Up At Court?

Q.

What would happen to me if I did not attend court as a witness? I have no evidence in the case and do not wish to go, it is only a minor case so could I get arrested or would I just get a fine?

(Mr ryan ward, 4 December 2008)

A.

The type of case you are involved in will determine what could happen if you don’t attend court as a witness. Even if you don’t think you have any evidence to give to the court, this isn’t your decision to make. The person that is bringing the court case will have a solicitor who will decide whether you should attend court to give whatever evidence they think you have that is pertinent to the case.

Generally speaking you should not have any serious consequences if you don’t actually attend the court. However, it may be the case that if you don’t attend and you have not informed the police or the PPS (Public Prosecution Service) that you won’t be attending, a witness summons may be issued. If this happens you are compelled to attend the court on the stated time and date. If you fail to attend the court after a witness summons has been issued, a warrant for your arrest would then be granted.

Also, making an excuse that you are ill for example is not good enough. You would have to produce a doctor’s medical certificate that states that you are not in a fit state to attend the court. If other events prevent you from attending court, you should let the court know as soon as possible. Depending on the seriousness of the case and how essential your evidence is, you may be excused attending.

Lastly, if you want to ensure that if you do not attend court you will not be prosecuted or arrested by the police, you can apply to the court for a decision on whether you do actually have to attend the court to give your evidence. Contact the court where the case is being heard for further details about how to make this application. Note that a fee is payable to gain this type of decision from the court. There is more information about going to court as a witness here and here. You will also find information on the HMCS (HM Courts Service) website including a number of leaflets that explain what to expect when being a witness in the different types of court you could be asked to attend.

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What happens if the wife was a victim of domestic violence and the husband was going to trial and the wife was subpoenaed to testify against the husband. But the wife doesn't show up for court. What happens to the wife. Minnesota Law please
Confused - 4-Jul-19 @ 6:00 AM
so i had a ticket in january for driving without insurance, the police officer gave me a court date but i was in a hurry and was worried id be late to work and maybe get terminated due to a lot of missed days and late arrivals. anyway, i stashed the paper in the glove department and forgot all about it. the thing is, the vehicle belonged to my ex and the car is long gone. so now i have a warrant out for my arrest and im gonna go to the municipal court today but i just wanna know whats gonna happen to me? will i be in big trouble?
Mimi - 2-Jul-19 @ 1:15 PM
I have been summons to court as a witness for my ex it is section 4a if I don't turn up surley I can't be arrested please sum1 help
Jojo - 11-Jun-19 @ 3:06 PM
I have a family court hearing this Monday bei g notified last week. My children's father has applied for contact after not seeing them for over 6 years. Their was serious domestic violancein our relationship and it was advised at the last court hearing he should have no contact whatever to safeguard my children. I have a retraining orser and prohibited step order In. Place and we have been safe from him for years. I am too scared to go to court or see him and if he follows me after to my hidden address. I do not qualify for legal aid to get advice from a solicitor because I work part time but cannit I afford a solicitor myself as I'm a single mum and dont. earn alot. So I was wondering if I have to attend the court at all and what would happen if I did not attend. Please help would be appreciated.
Sannne - 11-Jun-19 @ 9:31 AM
I was summoned to magistrates court by the police fo that a motoring offence for which I was innocent and pleaded not guilty. I had to travel 250 miles to get to the court. The police officer was not at the court ad I was made to attend court on another day with all the expenses. If I didn't appear in court I would have lost the casefor no show. I feel that I should have won as I did turn up and they didn't. How do I stand?
Richy - 11-Jun-19 @ 4:50 AM
Went to court last week for a speeding ticket done for 37 there was a legal sign up saying 40 no other sigh up when approached only 40 lost my battle found guilty and give me a fine of 740 had loads ofevidence but didn’t want to known and hammered me in court cos they had Solicitor And I didn’t want to appeal but got to pay don’t earn much so really bad way been treated
Lou - 1-Jun-19 @ 11:41 AM
I lost my licenses on the spot. I didn’t get a court letter but I took it to court so I can try and fight it.But how can I cancel it cause I know I won’t win
Bee - 26-May-19 @ 10:52 PM
My window was smashed and I have been asked to attend court I ignored the first date and was issued another citation, but my window is fixed I want to get over it and move on I can’t even remember the statement I had given the police that night as I was drunk from that morning right through until 1 in the morning so I have no clue and I don’t want to make anything worse or be called a liar as I’ve no clue what to say can I call the court and say I don’t want to attend or if I just don’t what will happen it’s such a daft thing to go to court for so surly their won’t be any major consequences
Xeeee - 19-Mar-19 @ 8:01 AM
My partner has just been arrested for failing to go to court he has never received any summons or phone calls or anything and the police know where he lives as they have came to his address to pick him up. What will happen with him not having any clue what it’s all about and it is a weekend so will he be in till court on monday
Rachyb - 2-Mar-19 @ 11:59 AM
Hello, I made a claim against a car dealer for faulty car because he refused to refund me, we have a preliminary Hearing in three weeks but I cannot attend as I booked tickets and will be abroad at that time (I booked my tickets before the Court sent us the date of the Hearing). I asked the Court to postpone the hearing but they replied I needed the written consent of the other party (which I asked for but he probably won't consent as not in his favour) or I would have to pay to make an application to postpone it. I called the court and they said that they couldn't assure me it would be postponed if I made an application. What happens if I don't turn up to the County Court? Can I do a hearing via the phone or Skype? Many thanks for your reply.
CH - 19-Jan-19 @ 12:08 PM
Advice please.A friend of mine attended court this week with grounds to appeal an order that is stopping access to his daughter.He turned up with his solicitor on time for the hearing, with statements and evidence to appeal, but the ex-gfs solicitor did not show up - so eventually a barrister came to represent her and then took hours to view the case notes etc and other cases needed to be heard in the meantime, which delayed the whole proceedings for many hours.The judge amended the order having heard some of the counter-evidence, but another hearing needed to be arranged to hear the full case.The ex-gf is getting legal aid, so delays are not costing her, but those wasted hours at the court room will be charged to my friend by his solicitor - even though it was not his fault that the case was not heard on time.Is there anything he can do to charge those wasted hours to the ex-gf's solicitor/team ??This situation, which could be repeated at the new hearing, will ruin him financially and could stop him fighting for access.
1BJT - 11-Oct-18 @ 12:50 PM
I recently had my partner arrested for DV. He has been convicted of this in his past relationship. We have started to talk again and want to give it another go. How can I get these charges dropped?
Jennie - 27-Sep-18 @ 10:04 AM
Hi I have been issued with a non molistion order and I'm in court on the 13th of this month My son is 9 and me and his mum have been going through the same stuff for nine years... I've had one of these in the past but she as decided to do it all again.. A lot of her alligations are false and lies She takes anti phycotic tablet and as bi. Polar.. I carnt go through this again and I don't want to go to court... I am willing to give my son up and not see him bc I don't have the strength to fight anymore... Will I go to jail if i dont go to court??
Daz - 7-Sep-18 @ 2:00 PM
Bear - Your Question:
My ex partner is taking me back to court for breech of child arrangement order he's miss two contact with our daughter and had taken me back to court I stopped him because each time I believe he's taking drugs (he as an undertaking to the court) he gives me tonnes of abuse in front of our daughter the week after she didn't want to go because of this she was petrified so I kept her here since then he's had no contact he's turned up at my home kicking off threatening me, police were called , then again stopped me in street threats again in front of his daughter then has wrote on court order that I've put words into our daughters head she's 3 btw that he's a baddy daddy she's said this herself when he's shouting I've not uttered a word to her regarding her father I've always kept it calm and even reaasured her that dad isn't bad he's just a little upset , I suffered dv whilst in a relationship with him he's a drug uses and caffcass said they don't believe he's unsafe etc but I have many concerns at that time I was vulnerable when it last when through court and felt talked into everything when I wanted a contact centre just while she's little because I know what he's like, caffcass seen his temper and that they thought it'd be best for him to access parenting information or classes. Nothing of it , she come back throwing up as he's admitting letting her sit there eating big bags of sweets , she had a bad cold in winter he thought it would be great to let her come home in a swim suit??? Absolutely covered in pen all over her wet through with urine I just feel she's not safe and it's just a case of letting her do what she wants as he said he don't like to say no to her cos she gets upset ??? It's lazy parenting I'm constantly on edge when she's with him worried for her safety, but I just keep thinking courts will think I'm being petty and also the abuse I get I can't take it we was supposed to have handover with other people but he's upset every person by being horrible to them it's come back to me , he's violently abuse to my daughter nursery for ramming religion down her throats because a vicar came and read to the pre-schoolers , I just need advice and I got deemed high risk last time and awarded legal aid etc will the same still apply ? As I don't want to be bullied in court again I need a solistor

Our Response:
You can see whether you would be eligible for legal aid via the link here . We cannot comment on your ex's actions, only a court can decide whether it is in your child's best interests if she sees her father. If you are not eligible for legal aid, you can self-litigate, please see link here .
CourtroomAdvice - 9-Jul-18 @ 3:01 PM
My ex partner is taking me back to court for breech of child arrangement order he's miss two contact with our daughter and had taken me back to court I stopped him because each time I believe he's taking drugs (he as an undertaking to the court) he gives me tonnes of abuse in front of our daughter the week after she didn't want to go because of this she was petrified so I kept her here since then he's had no contact he's turned up at my home kicking off threatening me, police were called , then again stopped me in street threats again in front of his daughter then has wrote on court order that I've put words into our daughters head she's 3 btw that he's a baddy daddy she's said this herself when he's shouting I've not uttered a word to her regarding her father I've always kept it calm and even reaasured her that dad isn't bad he's just a little upset , I suffered dv whilst in a relationship with him he's a drug uses and caffcass said they don't believe he's unsafe etc but I have many concerns at that time I was vulnerable when it last when through court and felt talked into everything when I wanted a contact centre just while she's little because I know what he's like,caffcass seen his temper and that they thought it'd be best for him to access parenting information or classes . Nothing of it , she come back throwing up as he's admitting letting her sit there eating big bags of sweets , she had a bad cold in winter he thought it would be great to let her come home in a swim suit??? Absolutely covered in pen all over her wet through with urine I just feel she's not safe and it's just a case of letting her do what she wants as he said he don't like to say no to her cos she gets upset ??? It's lazy parenting I'm constantly on edge when she's with him worried for her safety, but I just keep thinking courts will think I'm being petty and also the abuse I get I can't take it we was supposed to have handover with other people but he's upset every person by being horrible to them it's come back to me , he's violently abuse to my daughter nursery for ramming religion down her throats because a vicar came and read to the pre-schoolers , I just need advice and I got deemed high risk last time and awarded legal aid etc will the same still apply ? As I don't want to be bullied in court again I need a solistor
Bear - 6-Jul-18 @ 5:57 PM
Hello, My ex-gf moved out of my place and to another country more than one year ago, but I still receive some of her mail. Some of the letters (googling the PO box listed as a return address) are from debt collectors (we are probably talking about a few hundred pounds). The last letter, again from a quick Google search, seems to contain a court summon. I informed her of the letters but was told to just ignore them or send them back stating that the recipient does not live at the address anymore. I obviously do not want to get involved, but I am still worried for her anyway. What is she risking, for not appearing in court? Could she risk being arrested if she comes back to the UK? Thank you very much Mark
Mark - 1-Jun-18 @ 3:09 PM
@Babyboo - if you have a warrant out for your arrest it lasts until the police actually arrest you.
NickU - 20-Apr-18 @ 2:04 PM
Rach - Your Question:
I have been asked to go to court as a witness because my ex partner assaulted me. He has been charged with ABH. I keep ringing the police to drop the charges. They say it’s been put on file and someone will call me back but no one ever does. I don’t want to attend court. I just want to get on with my life. I haven’t received a summons as yet but what will happen if I don’t attend court? Will the charges just be dropped?

Our Response:
It is up to the CPS whether it wishes to drop charges. Just because you wish to drop the charges, doesn't mean the incident didn't occur and that your ex shouldn't be brought to justice for assaulting you. If your ex has been charged, then the CPS will gather as much evidence as it can to try to bring the matter to court.
CourtroomAdvice - 16-Apr-18 @ 11:24 AM
I have been asked to go to court as a witness because my ex partner assaulted me. He has been charged with ABH. I keep ringing the police to drop the charges. They say it’s been put on file and someone will call me back but no one ever does. I don’t want to attend court. I just want to get on with my life. I haven’t received a summons as yet but what will happen if I don’t attend court? Will the charges just be dropped?
Rach - 15-Apr-18 @ 8:48 PM
@Worried - you have to let the court or your solicitor know.
Mand - 10-Apr-18 @ 9:35 AM
I'm due to attend court tomorrow for trial on a summary offence in Scotland but I've been admitted to hospital after an accident. What can I do please as don't want to be arrested again?
Worried - 9-Apr-18 @ 11:38 AM
Ive been summoned to court if I don't go will the warrant for my arrest only be issues for the day or will it be an ongoing warrent
Babyboo - 6-Apr-18 @ 9:42 PM
Hello there, After my probation period was finished, I travelled out of the UK because of the prion experience I lived. I had a confiscation order on my head though, few months later I started receiving emails from CPS that I am under a warrant for arrest for not appearing to court to discuss payment for my confiscation. Clearly when I travel back to the UK i will be arrested and taken to the Magistrates Court, my question is; could there be a charge ( another case) for not appearing in court, when I genuinely did not receive the invitation letter to go to court as I let the country? or just discuss the confiscation matter. PS: I answered CPS by the confiscation unit by email and explained my self
Louis - 7-Mar-18 @ 6:45 PM
I have to go court in two weeks if my ex partner acausing me of asult and It was in self defence and she is the victim and she doesn't turn up do I go free? As it's my first court hearing. Also she keeps contacting me to contact her and she sayin she will drop charges but so far she aint if she doesn't wha happens at my first court hearing?? Please help
Jj - 23-Feb-18 @ 3:48 PM
My father has a court summons on Monday. He supposedly caused someone upset by muttering under his breath! The police have done a counterclaim on his behalf as she turned nasty on him! Anyway, he doesn’t feel well enough to attend court. (Recently had an operation and has cancer). We have written several times by post and email to the court. No response. Please tell me what happens if he doesn’t turn up. Thanks.
Sam - 3-Feb-18 @ 10:24 AM
I’m due to attend court as a witness. But I have recently been offered a position with the fire service. There is a possibility that the training will overlap the court date. Could I be excused from court?
Gary Hunter - 19-Jan-18 @ 3:03 PM
I have got court next week but a trial to go through I plead not guilty to assault but whiling to plead guilty to breach of the peace I never assaulted her but still got charged with assault and breach of the peace it's her word against mine but have next door as witnesses saying I assaulted her but only herd shouting and being charged with a domestic but she's not my partner or friend it was just a house party we were at. I think if they were charging me it should only be assaultand breach of the peacenot a domestic charge because I wasn't in a relationship with her. "Please comment " thanks Jimmy.
Jimmy - 19-Jan-18 @ 2:48 PM
Gary Hunter - Your Question:
I’m due to attend court as a witness. But I have recently been offered a position with the fire service. There is a possibility that the training will overlap the court date. Could I be excused from court?

Our Response:
Your new employer should allow you time out to court as a witness.
CourtroomAdvice - 19-Jan-18 @ 2:48 PM
I’m due to attend court as a witness. But I have recently been offered a position with the fire service. There is a possibility that the training will overlap the court date. Could I be excused from court?
Gary - 19-Jan-18 @ 7:50 AM
I have an out standing debt which i was taken to court for to get an attachement of earning. I have been summoned to appear in court, butno longer live in the uk. what will happen if i dont attend. will they issue a warrant for my arrest if so will i be arrested if i return to the uk?
shine - 16-Jan-18 @ 1:21 AM
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