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Couldn't attend district court date. Tried continuance. How do I appeal guilty verdict & ask for reduced fine/driving school?

Alexandria, VA |

Court date 20 Jan 11 or pre-pay. Speeding 44/25. I called that morning and asked what they could do for me. I'm a single mom, daughter had 4 teeth pulled earlier this week (haven't been to my office all week). The clerk said I could have a continuance because I had not had one yet and said he doesn't see why the judge wouldn't give me a continuance if I'm not there and that it happens all the time. I called back at 9:15 and he said the docket had not been returned and I would have to wait to see how the court handles my summons. What? Now he's telling me that I may be tried in absentia and found guilty? Appealing guilty verdict. Just want fine reduced to orig amount (judge added ANOTHER $70) and request driving schoo. No speeding tkts in at least 16 yrs. How do I do this during appeal?

Couldn't attend court that morning because daughter had blood ALL OVER her bed when we got up that morning, although she had not had bleeding the morning before. I thought she risked dry socket and that a blood clot had come out. No family in the area, ex is no help. I had every intention of going to court that morning but my daughter's needs are always my top priority. I did call the court and try to get some help. Clerk "mislead" me during initial call. Now I have to appeal. I do have documentation from the dentist office of her teeth being pulled and, as gross as it may be, I did take pictures of my daughter's bed with all the blood all over it that morning. I really wasn't making up some lame excuse to get out of going to court. Please help! Mr. Myers, I understand that but I am sure this is not the first medical issue that's come up for a defendant or a defendant with a dependent on the morning we're supposed to be there. Certainly our system is better than that.

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Attorney answers 3


I've read every word that you posted.

A day in court is just that, your day in court. When you have a day in court your priority is to plan in advance to be in the court on your day in court. The other things are secondary. The judge, not the court clerk, is the authority. I wish I could give you a better answer, but when there is a court date, it is your day in court.

I truly wish you the best.

If you find my answer helpful, please click the ‘thumbs-up’ tab below. Thank you.

This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Laws vary widely from state to state. You should rely only on the advice given to you during a personal consultation by a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with state laws and the area of practice in which your concern lies. In the event that you have follow up questions, please post them directly on this site. This does not create an attorney-client relationship and the attorney does not read unsolicited emails. Thank You.



Wow you are very out of touch with society. Not everyone is a lawyer and has the luxury of getting their nanny to take their daughter to the dentist. I also love how you give a b.s. answer and then at the end have the audacity to say "If you find my answer helpful, please click the ‘thumbs-up’ tab below. " You're pretty arrogant.


In Virginia, you have 10 calendar days to appeal your case to the Circuit Court. Go to the courthouse and note the appeal. While the appeal is pending, you can also file a motion to rehear/reopen your case in the General District Court. As long as you file and the case is heard within 60 days of your conviction, the General District Court judge has the jurisdiction to rehear/retry your case. Explain to the clerk and the judge the reasons why you missed your court date. If the General District Court judge won't grant you the relief you are seeking, then your appeal in Circuit Court will give you a second chance. If you have to have the matter heard in Circuit Court, and if you are convicted, there will be additional court costs. Good luck.


Circuit Court appeals from General District Court are heard de novo. This means that the case is tried all over again and the decision in GDC is treated like it never happened.

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