Unless you have been through the criminal justice system before, you may be concerned and confused if you receive a misdemeanor summons in Nebraska. The worst thing you can do if you receive a summons is ignore it. What you should do is contact an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney right away to discuss your situation and your options.
In the State of Nebraska, as is the case in many states, a defendant can be notified that charges have been filed via a summons in lieu of an actual arrest. A summons is an order from the court telling you that you have been ordered to appear at a specific date and time to answer to the charges filed against you. You should also have received a “Complaint” that tells you what charges have been filed against you. In the alternative, the summons may have been in the form of a “Citation” in which case the charges are typically located on the citation itself along with the summons to appear in court. In either case, the important thing to focus on is that although you were not arrested and taken into custody, criminal charges have been filed against you.
Ignoring the summons will eventually result in your arrest in almost all cases. Because the summons is an official order from the court, failing to appear at the date and time noted on the summons will be considered a “failure to appear” by the court. As such, the judge will usually issue and order for your arrest based on your failure to appear. An arrest warrant can result in your arrest at any time and under any circumstances. This could mean you are arrested at home in front of your family, at work in front of your co-workers, or during a routine traffic stop with friends or family in the vehicle. If you wish to avoid the possibility of being arrested without warning you must take the summons you received seriously and appear in court as ordered.
Your court date noted on the summons is for an initial hearing, or arraignment. All that will happen at the hearing is the court will make sure you understand your rights and that you know what charges have been filed against you as well as enter a “not guilty” plea on your behalf. The court will also want to know if you have retained the services of an attorney yet. It is always wise to retain counsel prior to your first appearance in court to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the proceedings.
If you have received a misdemeanor summons in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.