You need to physically appear on the scheduled date, because when the case is called if you are not present the court will issue a warrant for you and will submit a suspension of your license. The best thing to do is appear in person at the clerk of court's office (do not call) and provide them proof you must be out of town on the date called and ask for it to be set for your return. If they refuse, then you will have to hire an attorney to appear and represent you, which is the only way the court will excuse your appearance. Your brother in law must also appear. The fact that you never received a courtesy notice does not matter since you are aware of the date. Sometimes the judge will allow a non-attorney to represent you in the first appearance to plead not guilty (which you can always change later) but this varies by judge's preference.
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