Postponing Your Traffic Court Date: Getting a "Continuance"

Requesting more time to pay a ticket or prepare for a traffic court trial.

If you have a traffic court date coming up and don't think you'll be able to make it or need more time to prepare, you might be able to postpone the date by asking for a "continuance" or "extension of time."

Postponements and Continuances in Traffic Court

In most areas, traffic ticket due dates and traffic court trial dates aren't set in stone. If you have a good reason for requesting a due date extension or that a traffic court trial date be moved back, there's a good chance you'll be able to get your request granted.

Every jurisdiction has different operating procedures. But on most traffic court websites, it specifies what you need to do to request an extension of time for a traffic ticket due date or traffic court trial. Generally, you can request an extension in writing, by phone, or by showing up to the traffic court in person.

Whatever method you use to request an extension of time, you'll probably need to have a reasonable explanation or why you need more time. Depending on the situation, you might be able to obtain an extension based on:

  • being out of town
  • prior work, school, or family obligations
  • financial hardship
  • needing more time to prepare for a traffic court trial, or
  • a key witness for your case is unavailable.

It's also important to make your request for an extension well in advance of your due date or trial date, especially if you're making your request in writing.

How Much Additional Time to Request

In some jurisdictions, there's a standard period of time for due date extensions and the like. This standard time is often 30 days. In other jurisdictions and situations, you'll need to specify how much additional time you're asking for. Generally, you'll want to request an amount to time that is adequate but not overboard. Unless there are special circumstances that warrant requesting a longer extension, it's fairly standard to ask for 30 days or less.

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