I was arrested while on a vacation. I must appear in court in a few months. It is 2 days drive away. Should I be up front about the fact that I was arrested, and what I was arrested for, or should I just take the time off to attend the court date, claiming it as personal time?

This is in the United States. The offence was minor. The court date will not result in jail time.

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    this depends entirely on your employer's policies. Some will let you take a day off for no reason, others demand to know why you want a specific block of time. (I guess you need 5 days - 2 to drive there, one to appear, and 2 to drive back?) I think most people would try just asking for it without a reason, and only provide one if the time would otherwise be turned down. Nov 10, 2015 at 18:29
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    Is there a faster way to get there than driving? Might be worth spending a couple hundred dollars on a flight if it will avoid 3-4 days absence from work. Nov 10, 2015 at 18:44
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    If it's an OVI charge or operating a vehicle without a license it might not be a hot idea to drive there. If there's any kind of violence charge (battery/assault) your employer may consider it to be conduct they don't want to be associated with. Nov 10, 2015 at 19:17
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    Ask on Law. You might be able to get an attorney to appear for you and it might be less than a weeks pay and travel expenses.
    – paparazzo
    Nov 10, 2015 at 19:37

2 Answers 2


Personally I would tell them that I have court date out of town in order to make sure the leave request is not turned down, particularly at this time of year when many people are competing for the same days off to use up their vacation time. You don't have to be more specific than that. It could be a custody hearing or a divorce or a civil suit, not necessarily a criminal case. If they ask details, tell them that it is private.

  • 1
    I would advice against saying private, that just sounds suspicious. He said it won't result in jail time, so probably just a drunk in public type of embarrassing thing. If they ask, say you had an expired car insurance card or and the county is being jerks about it to rack up court cost. Its not a lie if you believe it. Nov 11, 2015 at 14:46
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    Saying private says the details are none of your business. Managers are used to hearing only what they need to know to approve the leave. I would assume that it was a speeding ticket or some such thing that the person was fighting to avoid an insurance increase. If someone says they have a court case, I don't immediately go to a criminal case. Most of the time it is minor traffic violations or something to do with child custody or a divorce. Most managers won't ask for details. But they do need to know that you aren't flexible on the date due to circumstances beyond your control.
    – HLGEM
    Nov 11, 2015 at 14:55
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    Or it could be to testify as a witness; that happened to one of my coworkers. Nov 11, 2015 at 16:37

Generally I like the accepted answer in theory, but pragmatically speaking, telling them it's for a court date would probably lead to them asking the offence. What may seem a petty offence to one person may not be to another. Getting arrested for careless driving and you have a boss who lost a child to a careless driver could cause you a lot of grief. And in any case I would see no need to have my employer know I got arrested.

You have a few months, I would just put in for personal leave without giving the reason and not get my work involved in any way. It IS a personal issue you need to handle.


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