Summons vs. Arrest

Posted on Posted in Constitutional rights

If you are facing criminal charges, there are several ways to get you into court: Summons or Arrest.

Arrest to get you in to criminal court. An arrest warrant must be signed by a judge prior to issuing it.  If a cop has reason to suspect that you committed a crime, he or she must get the arrest warrant before going to pick you up.  The exception to this is if a cop sees a crime take place, he or she can take place the person under arrest without first obtaining a warrant. A private citizen can make an arrest if they witness a crime take place. If a person is arrested, he or she must be brought in front of a judge within 48 hours, excluding weekends and court holidays.

Summons to get you in to criminal court.  Sometimes, the cops and DA’s feel that an arrest is not necessary.  They believe that the person will appear in court at a specified time and at a specified location.  Sometimes this is accomplished through what is referred to as a “cite and release”.  This means that you were in police custody but they let you go on a written promise to appear.  You signed a piece of paper stating that you will appear in court at a predetermined time and place.  This is common when it is a low level misdemeanor, like a DUI.  Many times you are not required to bail out, and can just be let out on a written promise to appear.  It is up to you to make sure you know when and where you are to go to court, as it is your responsibility to get yourself there.  If you do not show up, there it is a failure to appear, and the judge will issue a bench warrant.  This time, you will get taken into custody.  With a cite and release, the cops will normally go through the booking process before you are released, meaning that they will take your photo, fingerprints, get your contact information and have you sign the promise.  They will then let you go on your promise to return to court.

There are some cases where a summons to appear cannot be issues instead of an arrest, meaning that the cops must place you under arrest to get you to court.  The following list is codified under Penal Code 813(e).

1) the offense charged involves violence, a firearm, or resisting arrest

2) there are outstanding arrest warrants for the defendant

3) the prosecution of this or other offenses would be jeopardized

4) there is a reasonable likelihood that the offense would continue or the safety of persons or property would be jeopardized

5) there is reason to believe the defendant would not appear at the time specified

Contact the Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache, a criminal defense firm, for more information on arrests or summons to appear.

Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache

A Criminal Defense Firm

PO Box 3297

Palm Springs, CA 92262

Office: (760) 237-8295

Cell: (760) 668-8295


Leave a Reply