Will I Get Arrested with a Criminal Summons?

If you have a Criminal Summons in Durham, that means there are criminal charges pending against you. You are accused of a crime.

That does not mean you’ll be arrested, fingerprinted or have a mugshot as a result. Criminal allegations in Durham, like other districts in North Carolina, require “bringing formal charges.”

That may take place through a warrant, a summons, or even by a traffic citation or ticket issued by a police officer, depending on the type of case.

Both felony or misdemeanor charges can be subject to a summons, again depending on the nature and circumstances of the charges.

What is a Criminal Summons?

A Criminal Summons is similar to a Warrant for Arrest in that it starts the legal proceedings.

It is a “charging document” that formally institutes criminal charges against the accused.

A Criminal Summons is not the same thing as a civil summons. Those ordinarily involve a lawsuit or other civil court matter.

There are certain legal issues, such as DV Domestic Violence matters, where both a Criminal Summons and a Civil Summons for a 50B DVPO – Domestic Violence Protective Order may be issued for the same alleged wrongdoing.

A summons for criminal charges is different from an Arrest Warrant in that you do not get arrested.

It is formal notice to the accused of the charges and includes the basic allegations, your name, case number, and upcoming court dates.

Am I Required to Appear in Court?

Once properly served with a Criminal Summons, you are required to appear in court on the date assigned.

Unfortunately, some people choose to ignore the summons and miss the court appearance.

They fail to recognize the severity of the charges and the necessity of showing up to court to respond to the charges.

That can result in an FTA – Failure to Appear and issuance of an OFA or Order for Arrest.

"Any time you face criminal charges, even if you believe them to be false accusations, we believe you should have a lawyer in court with you."

- Cole Williams, Durham Criminal Defense Lawyer

The same NC criminal laws apply to both Warrants and a Criminal Summons.

To be clear, the criminal charges subject to a Criminal Summons are just as serious.

The punishments are the same.

They deserve careful consideration and legal advice from a lawyer.

What Should I do if I Have a Warrant for Arrest?

Warrants for Arrest in North Carolina result in jail and getting locked up.

They also trigger certain rights under the Constitution and NC Criminal Procedure Act.

If you or someone you love is in the Durham County Jail, one of the first steps of facing criminal charges involves setting a bond and release from custody, if possible.

Terms for Release and “Posting Bond” do not always require paying money or calling a bondsman.

Conditions of release, as set by a Magistrate Judge, or District Court or Superior Court Judge, may take several different forms such as:

  • Unsecured Bond
  • Promise to Appear
  • Recognizance Bond - “Recognized Bond”
  • Release to Custody of Another “Custody Release”
  • EM – Electronic Monitoring
  • House Arrest
  • EHA – Electronic House Arrest
  • Territorial Restrictions
  • No Contact Order
  • Secured Bond

Most initial bonds in North Carolina, upon arrest or service of a Warrant for Arrest, are set by a Magistrate Judge.

Durham Criminal Defense – Cole Williams

Criminal charges can have consequences, especially if convicted.

That’s true for both misdemeanor and felony charges.

Even false accusations can take time to clear, adversely affecting your name and reputation in the community.

That can make it hard to find a good job, maintain employment, find suitable housing, or provide for your loved ones.

Cole Williams helps people navigate the legal system, explaining your legal rights and options.

Legal consultations for criminal charges cost nothing.

Everything you tell Mr. Williams and his office are also confidential.

Call NOW 919-688-2647

You may also contact our law firm by email.

Cole Williams is a fabulous courtroom attorney. He's someone I respect and admire, having litigated complex legal matters in Durham with him. Our firm regularly refers clients to Cole and his staff, knowing they'll be treated in a kind, professional manner. Bill Powers, Charlotte Attorney
I've known Cole Williams both personally and professionally for more than 20 years. Cole has a keen legal mind and tenacious spirit. He is widely respected both in the Durham legal community and in North Carolina as a courtroom advocate. I highly recommend Cole Williams to you. John Fanney, Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorney