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Missed court appearances, even in low-level cases, can lead to significant consequences for both individuals and the criminal justice system.

The reasons for missed appearances are often simple and solvable, like lack of transportation, or inability to get time off from work. Our resources help stakeholders explore solutions to tackle court appearance issues, protect public safety, and improve efficiency.

Welcome to the Toolbox.

Unpacking the impact
of missed court appearances

Missed court appearances contribute to system-wide inefficiencies and case backlogs. They strain law enforcement resources, inconvenience victims and witnesses, and result in significant consequences for the person charged.  

This infographic explains three consequences for a missed court appearance.
When someone charged with a crime misses court, their driver’s license can be revoked. Without a license, it can be hard to get to work, care for family, and appear in court in the future.
When someone charged with a crime misses court, a judge may issue an order for their arrest. Arrests require law enforcement resources, and even short jail stays can have significant consequences. An arrest record can create lifelong barriers for the person arrested, and incarceration is costly for taxpayers.
When someone charged with a crime misses court, the hearing is rescheduled. This inconveniences victims and witnesses, including lab analysts. Rescheduling requires clerk resources, and delays can cause system inefficiencies and backlogs.

Use data to
pinpoint problems

The more you know about an issue, the more effectively you can solve it. Data can help you understand the scope of court appearance issues in your community.

Look what we found
in North Carolina

This work began in 2021 as part of the North Carolina Court Appearance Project. Learn more about the Lab’s initial partnership with Orange, Robeson, and New Hanover Counties and see how stakeholders developed solutions for court appearance issues.

Find the tools
that work for you

Right now, stakeholders across the country are implementing ways to improve court appearance rates and respond to non-appearances. Take a look at these innovative strategies to find tools that work for your jurisdiction.

Get more people to court

Find new ways to help people get to court and improve your court appearance rates—from reminders to alternative scheduling, transportation assistance, and much more

Have options when people miss court

Find new ways to respond when someone misses court and avoid unnecessary arrests.