If you have received a summons in the mail to appear in court, you are likely wondering if you need to show up. The answer is yes. A summons is a court order, and you should comply with that order. What happens if you don’t comply will defend on what type of summons you have received.
Summons for a Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing: If you have received a summons for a clerk magistrate’s hearing this means that someone, usually the police, have applied for a criminal complaint against you. At a clerk magistrate’s hearing, you will have the chance to explain to the court why you should not be charged with a crime. If you don’t appear for the hearing the court will send you another summons, but this time it will be for an arraignment, and you will have lost your chance to avoid being charged with a crime.
Summons for an Arraignment: If you have received a summons for an arraignment, this means that you have been charged with a crime. The arraignment is the first stage of the case against you. If you don’t go to court for your arraignment, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest.
Summons for a Trial: If you have been summons for a trial, this means that either the prosecutor or the defendant want you to testify at a trial. What happens if you don’t appear will depend on how you received the summons. If you have just received it in the mail, then there isn’t much anyone can do if you don’t appear. However, if you have been told by a judge on a prior date about needing to appear, or if a police officer or constable has served you with the summons, then failing to appear could result in a warrant for your arrest.
Summons for Grand Jury: If you have received a summons to appear before a grand jury, this means that the government wants you to be a witness when presenting their case for an indictment. Because grand juries only occur in serious criminal cases, you can expect that there will be severe consequences if you don’t appear.
If you have received a summons to appear in court, it is important that you contact any attorney to see what rights you have. Attorney James G. DeGiacomo has represented defendants at clerk magistrate’s hearings and arraignments, as well as witnesses at trial and before the grand jury. Contact Attorney DeGiacomo today if you have received a summons.