When you receive a summons from a criminal court, it means you have been charged with a criminal offense and you must appear in court on your court date to respond to the charge.
What Happens If You Don’t Respond To A Summons?
After receiving a summons to appear in criminal court, you must go to court on your court date, or else the court will issue a warrant for your arrest.
What If You Did Not Receive The Summons From The Court?
Sometimes the court mails a summons to a defendant but the defendant does not receive it because the court has an incorrect mailing address on file for the defendant, or otherwise sent it to the wrong address.
The court is required to mail the summons to the defendant to notify them of the court date, but the court has no responsibility to make sure the defendant actually received the summons.
So, if the court sends a summons to you at the wrong address and you don’t receive the summons, the court can issue a warrant for your arrest.
What To Do If You Missed Your Court Date
If you have a warrant because you did not receive the summons from the court and missed your court date, your attorney can lift the warrant for you. Your attorney will make sure the warrant is cancelled and a new court date is scheduled.
Hiring an attorney to lift your warrant allows you to avoid turning yourself in to police, paying the bond, and appearing in court.
How To Respond To A Summons
If you have received a summons to appear in criminal court in Missouri, you can do one of the following:
- Go to court on your court date and plead guilty
- Go to court on your court date and plead not guilty
- Go to court on your court date and ask the judge for a continuance to give you more time to hire an attorney to represent you
- Hire an attorney to represent you in court so you don’t have to appear in court
If you plead guilty to a criminal offense, you will be ordered to pay fines and court costs, and you will end up with a conviction on your criminal record.
If you plead guilty to speeding tickets or other moving violations, you will have to pay fines and court costs, points will be added to your driving record, and your car insurance rates will probably increase.
The added points may cause your driver’s license to be suspended or revoked if you accumulate:
- 8 points within 18 months
- 12 points within 12 months
- 18 points within 24 months
- 24 points within 36 months
If you plead not guilty, the judge will schedule your case for trial and you will have to decide whether to represent yourself or hire an attorney to represent you at trial.
An Attorney Can Help If You Received a Summons To Appear In Court
You can hire an attorney to respond to your summons and represent you in court for your criminal case.
Your attorney can represent you at trial or negotiate a pre-trial plea bargain deal with the court on your behalf, and you may not have to appear in court at all.
An experienced attorney can get your criminal charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. The outcome of your case depends on the following:
- How old are you?
- How serious was the criminal charge?
- Which court is your case being prosecuted in?
- Do you have any prior convictions on your criminal record?
If you have received a summons to appear in a Missouri court for a speeding ticket or other criminal charge, call criminal defense attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 for a free consultation and a price quote for legal representation. Or email Andrea at [email protected]