The judge could issue a warrant for your arrest, and the cops could haul you off to jail. You could also be facing new charges for failure to appear.
DO NOT avoid this issue! The longer you wait, the worse it will get. You can promptly contact the clerk of the court and resolve the issue, or you can hire a lawyer to deal with it on your behalf. Either way, if you don't handle this situation immediately, it will look like you deliberately blew off the court date and are trying to avoid your case, instead of making a simple mistake.
Please understand that this is a general discussion of legal principles by a California lawyer and does not create an attorney/client relationship. It's impossible to give detailed, accurate advice based on a few sentences on a website (and you shouldn't provide too much specific information about your legal matter on a public forum like this site, anyway). You should always seek advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction who can give you an informed opinion after reviewing all of the relevant information.
There are various degrees of "could not make it." Show the court the headlines where you were abducted by aliens, orders for deployment to Afghanistan, or were in jail. If you have some lesser excuse, they may already have issued a bench warrant. You can call the court, ask them the status, and see if they have (or will) set a new date.
We do not have a client/attorney relationship until you make an appointment, we discuss your case face to face, I accept a retainer, and we explictly agree to enter into representation.
Bring proof of the accident and get to court tomorrow. If you are very afraid of possible jail, have a lawyer go to court for you. You can retain an attorney to attempt to get the warrant recalled and resolve the entire case. I wish you well.........David Wallin
As you may be aware by now, most likely, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. This could also ultimately lead to your license being suspended. Depending on what kind of case you have at this court, the judge could penalize you more severely for not appearing.
It would be in your best interests to retain an attorney to accompany you to court to address the warrant, the pending case, and obtaining a favorable outcome for all matters. The fact that you were in a car accident may be very helpful, and clearly relevant to explain that this was not a willful failure to appear. If you were hurt, or could not find alternative transportation, this would also be helpful to explain.
The sooner you take care of this, the better. Please consult with an attorney as soon as you can.