General Question

mgs's avatar

If I have a court summons can I settle it before I show up in court?

Asked by mgs (6points) July 9th, 2008 from iPhone

I was drunk and stole a sign from a bar. The cops stopped me and gave me a ticket for larceny and possession of stolen goods. I smoothed it over with the owner and he isn’t pressing charges, but I still have my court summons. Can I settle this without having to show up in court?

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9 Answers

jonno's avatar

I’m fairly sure you will still have to go to court, as it is a criminal law matter not a civil one. The case is between you and the police/the state, not you and the owner.

If it were the owner taking you to court (and the police had not gotten involved), and you had indeed “smoothed it over”, then the owner would simply drop the case.

That said, you may want to check to see what your options are. Whatever you do, unless told otherwise, do not fail to show up to court.

chaosrob's avatar

Nope, you are compelled to appear. The only exception would be if you have the case somehow dismissed before the date of the hearing, or if you have a lawyer go and make a convincing argument to the judge that you couldn’t appear and you shouldn’t be held in contempt.

mgs's avatar

How can I get it dismissed? Who do I talk to? The judge? The DA? The officer involved?

Standswithacane's avatar

Read the summons. It should answer most of hour questions. You will have to appear. That initial appearance is likely only for purposes of entering a plea. Once you do that they’ll set a trial date. You need a lawyer, unless you’re comfortable with a criminal record from here on out. Your lawyer needs to be on reasonably good terms with the DA. If there is a basis for a defense (ie, you were only drinking coca cola, and you were really only handling that sign to get a closer look at it with no intention of taking it, and the bar owner testifies for you) then maybe your lawyer will want to try the case. Otherwise, you might be able to get a deferred adjudication , say for instance if he can get the DA to knock off the larceny charge and get it down to Public Intoxication or something equivalent. Either way, get a lawyer. Sometimes you just have to drop some coin. Sounds like this is one of those times.

susanc's avatar

Oho, we appear to have a resident Flutherattorney, guys.

Standswithacane's avatar

Hey, nothing wrong with my opinion. If Mgs wants to march to the beat of his own drum that’s fine with me. On the other hand, if he’s a good guy who just made a dumb mistake, and doesn’t want it following him around the rest of his life like an albatross, he might be able to get some kind of deferred disposition and clean that stuff off his record. Who among us wouldn’t want to do the same after making a stupid mistake. I’m not advocating for lawyers one way or the other. Just trying to help the guy.

scamp's avatar

I agree with Standswithacane , and I think susanc was just kidding around.

Standswithacane's avatar

@ Scamp… You’re probably right. I griped at several people yesterday, unnecessarily.

@ Susanc… My apologies.

scamp's avatar

I commend you for that last post, Standswithacane. It’s dificult to tell what people mean by reading the typed word if you don’t know that person well. I alos love your user name. I too stand with a cane as I am recovering from a knee surgery gone wrong. Anyway, thanks for the apology. I think susanc will appreciate it when she sees it as well.

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