Summonsed to Court
If you've been summoned to come to court on a criminal case, you're probably wondering what's going to happen next. So, I made this video to explain to you what happens at the start of a criminal case when you're summoned to come to court.
When you're summoned to come to court, that is basically your notice that a criminal case has been filed against you. And, you're usually served with a summons by a Constable or you may receive the summons in the mail, certified mail. You will go to—you will be directed to go to the court. And, if it's a misdemeanor, it will be in Justice Court or Municipal Court. If it's a felony, you will be directed to go to the Superior Court.
Before you go to court, you'll be ordered to go get fingerprinted and photographed. In all domestic violence and DUI cases that are misdemeanors, you have to get fingerprinted and photographed and you have to get fingerprinted and photographed in all felony cases.
So, when you go to the court, you're going to have what's called an arraignment. In an arraignment, the Judge will tell you what you're charged with and the Judge will advise you of your rights; your right to an attorney, your right to remain silent, the right to have a trial and be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The Judge will ask you how you will plead, guilty or not guilty. You'll plead not guilty, usually and then the Judge will set the case for some other pre-trial hearings and if you cannot afford an attorney, the Judge will appoint one for you.
Also, at the arraignment, the Judge is going to set release conditions. This is another reason why it's important to go to court when you are summoned. If you don't go to court and you don't show up for the summons, the Judge is going to issue a bench warrant for you. If there's a bench warrant issued for you, you'll get arrested when you're picked up on that warrant.
Now, if you go to court as directed, the Judge is most likely to release you on your own recognizance and that makes sense because you're voluntarily showing up for court and the whole reason for a bond is to guarantee that a defendant will show up to court. So, there's nothing better to show a Judge that you are not a flight risk, by responding promptly to a summons.
Now, most defendants will not have an attorney when they go to court on the arraignment or when they're summoned, but if you can afford an attorney, it is always helpful to have one with you when you do the arraignment.
If you have a question about a criminal case, please pick up the phone and give my office a call. Let's find out if your case is something we can help you with. Call my office at 928-753-6868 or visit my website at HampLaw.com.