Local News

Courts launch system to notify people of court dates

Posted November 1, 2018 5:48 p.m. EDT

Court clerks across the state of North Carolina get 1 million calls a year from people asking when their court dates are. They're hoping a new notification system will cut down on that.

“There's a lot of time over here waiting for clients to show up,” said defense attorney Lee Turner.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, said between 12 and 15 percent of clients fail to show up for court.

“A lot of people have so much going on, and then you forget what the court date is,” said George White, whose son was in traffic court for a speeding ticket.

Failures to appear, known as FTAs, cost the court system time and money.

The Administrative Office of the Courts has a new system where people across the state can be notified of upcoming court dates.

“It’s very easy to sign up for these notifications,” said Jeff McEntire, senior project manager for AOC. You simply need to know what case number and what county.

Once you sign up, court dates are emailed or texted to you.

“You'll get reminder messages on your phone, seven business days out,” McEntire said.

“This can help them be where they need to be when they need to be there and prevent the costly and time-consuming FTA process,” he continued.

Freeman said the hope is that the system will reduce the number of people who fail to show up for court.

“It will prevent a lot of missed court dates, hopefully,” Turner said. “I think it is a great idea.”

So far, 1,000 people in 80 of North Carolina's 100 counties have signed up for the service.

Court calendars are available online.