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Went to court date but case number was not in the system

Fresno, CA |

I went to my court date for misdemeanor "shoptlift" and when i went to check in, the lady there told me that my case was not in the system and was still pending. she gave me a paper with a number and told me to call in about 2-3 weeks to check the status of my case. do you guys have any clue what this mean? thank you

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Attorney answers 5


It means that your case had not yet been filed. You should check in with the court clerk as instructed, and if still no filing check again in another few weeks. Do this for a few months, if not a full year (statute of limitations for filing on a petty theft is one year). The DA may have either rejected your case or it has not yet made its way to them.


Once the police write up their reports, they submit it to the prosecutor's office. They gave you a date to appear on your citation. If they had filed charges in court by that date, that would have been your arraignment.

They have up to a year to file misdemeanor charges against you.

Yes, you can keep checking on the case, but it will only help remind them to file charges against you. Instead, you may want to consult with a local criminal defense attorney (you'll need one eventually). They can monitor the case without alerting them of any statute of limitations issues and if/when the case is filed, they can appear in court on your behalf.

If the prosecutor decides to file charges now, they will either send you a letter (to the address in the police report) or they can request a warrant for your arrest.

The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case.


Yes, I have a clue what it means. It means what it means. Call back in 2-3 weeks. They have not reviewed your case yet because they were probably busy with other stuff or the reports were not even submitted yet. The prosecution has up to one year from the date of offense to file criminal charges, so please keep checking until you are told either to appear in court or that no charges are being filed. Don't hold your breath for the latter. They'll get to you and file a case most likely.

San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney--19 years experience. Law Offices of Jay S. Finnecy


Agree with what has been said except you have no obligation to continue to call the clerk. On the contrary, once (if) the DA files the case, either the clerk or the DA will send a letter to the address they have for you listed on the citation specifying your new court date. That letter is essential to the process. If you move, make sure your mail is forwarded to the new address.


I agree that it would be helpful to have a Criminal Defense Attorney helping you through this process. Sometimes, and I'm not saying always, a defendant does not receive anything in the mail notifying them of their new court date. Many times, defendants stop checking back with the court when they get tired of doing so. Sometimes, this results in a court date months later that the defendant is unaware of. This results in a defendant receiving a FTA (failure to appear), in which the judge issues a warrant for your arrest. If you'd like to get around this whole process, an attorney is helpful. They're able to start on the process before anything is filed. Also, they are able to check with the court periodically so you don't have to. Hiring an attorney really depends on how much your time is worth.

Michael Shultz

Michael Shultz


Also, in rare cases the cops/DA will simply apply for an arrest warrant and not send a letter with a new court date. In that case, it would be essential to surrender to the court BEFORE the cops come and get you. And, an attorney can assist in determining the case status periodically.

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