NewsNational News


Text messages now remind defendants to show up

WPTV texting smartphone cell phone text messages
Posted at 3:42 PM, May 04, 2019

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Courts around the country are embracing text messages in a new way. They're using texts to remind defendants of their upcoming hearings.

Texting systems are being used in more than a dozen states, including Virginia, California, Maryland and Florida.

One of the main goals is to reduce failure-to-appear rates, which are as high as 50 percent in some courts.

Missing a court date often results in a judge issuing a bench warrant, which can lead to a citation or arrest, fines and even jail time.

In New York City, researchers found that text messages that combined information on planning, what to expect and the consequences of not going to court led to a 26 percent drop in the number of people who failed to show up.