Summons vs. Warrant

Utah Criminal Charges And Jail

When criminal charges are brought against an individual in Utah the court has power to order that the defendant be taken into custody or that the defendant self report to court or to the jail.  The court can do this by a couple of different orders: (1) a summons; or, (2) a warrant.

When is a Summons Used?

A summons is an order from the court that requires a person to report to court on a date certain.  It is an order that if violated can result in being held in contempt of court.  A summons is typically used when the charges at issue are not considered extremely serious or the defendant is not considered a flight risk or danger to society.  Thus, most individuals charged with misdemeanors are summoned to court.  Those individuals do not have to be taken to jail, they must simply report to the courthouse on the date given. This saves the individual time, money, and inconvenience, not least of which is not having to spend any time jail before going to court.

When is a Warrant Issued?

An arrest warrant is a court order that allows law enforcement to take an individual into custody and place them in jail.  The warrant usually includes a bail order which allows the defendant to bail out at a sum certain.  When a warrant is issued by the court the suspect can be taken into custody immediately, but except for extremely serious crimes, police are generally not send to a home or work to arrest the individual.  Typically, the individual is arrested after being stopped in a traffic stop and the cop finds out there is an active warrant.  For violent and sex crimes police are generally dispatched to make an immediate arrest.

Our Utah criminal lawyers can advise you on how to deal with a summons or warrant. Call us at 801.618.1334 to find out what we can do for you.

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