How to change a court date

If you have a court date set for anything from a speeding infraction to a criminal offence, it is usually possible to change that court date. If you do not have a lawyer, you will need to ask for a change of date yourself. To make sure that you make a good impression and are granted a change in date, follow these steps.

Locate your summons or traffic ticket. Each should give a phone number that you can call to change your court date. If you only have the judge's name or the court's name, check the National Center for State Court (NCS) website or the U.S. Courts website for the phone number.

Call the judge's office to request the change of date. You will either speak to the judge's clerk or the judge. In some states, you will be required to appear in court to make the request in person.

Do not elaborate on your cancellation reasons. Be businesslike and polite and do not give excuses for why you can't make the court date. Simply say that you are unable to make that date and time because of a conflict.

Call as far in advance as possible. Some courts and judges will require two weeks' notice or more. To ensure that there are open court dates for you to choose, call the court to make your request as soon as possible.

Have an attorney make your request if that is required in your state. If you need an attorney, check the listings at

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