Summons to Attend Court to Answer a Complaint
Many criminal cases, especially motoring matters, begin with a summons to attend court. This is a letter sent by the court hearing the case, telling you a date and time you must attend. The summons will also include details of the allegation against you, and should be accompanied by a set of papers outlining the evidence against you.
If you receive a summons to attend court, it is important that you take it seriously. If you do not attend as required, the Court may decide to issue a warrant for you to be arrested and brought before the Court. If you are unable to attend on the specified day, you should call the court to see if they can rearrange it for a date you are available.
If the court send you a summons to attend court on a day you are not available, you may be able to instruct a solicitor or barrister to attend on your behalf. If a lawyer appears on your behalf, they will be able to enter a plea for you, and either make representations about the sentence or fix the next hearing for a time you will be available to attend. This is only possible if the allegation against you is a summary only matter, i.e. a case that can only be heard by the Magistrates Court. If you are unsure whether the offence you have received a summons for is a summary only matter, contact us or look at the relevant page in our criminal offences section.
Witness Summons to Attend Court
The courts also issue summonses to witnesses, if there is a concern that the witness will not attend a trial to give evidence. If you receive a summons to attend court as a witness, you may be committing the offence of contempt of court if you do not obey the summons. This is a serious issue, and should not be ignored.
If you have received a summons to attend court, either to face proceedings against you or as a witness, and you need more specific advice about what you need to do, contact us. We can give you more specific information that suits your situation, and can even recommend specialist criminal defence lawyers who may be able to represent you if needed.