Guide to Summons & Charge Procedures
All prosecutions will start by either a person receiving a summons to attend court or by being charged with an offence following arrest.
Put simply a summons is a written order to attend a court to answer an allegation.
If a person is charged they are given written details of the charges and bailed to attend court. If bailed a person must attend in person and if they fail to do so risk committing an offence that can be imprisonable.
A person summoned usually does not have to attend in person if they instruct a solicitor to attend on their behalf.
The Three Categories of Offence
These offences can only be dealt with at the Magistrates Court and involve penalties limited to six months imprisonment ( if custody is permitted at all). Examples of summary only offences are minor public order matters, criminal damage of less than £5,000 or common assault.
The more serious offences which can be dealt with either at Magistrates or Crown Court. These offences all carry the potential of a custodial sentence on conviction. Examples of either way offences are burglary, assaults occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage cases where the damage caused is over £5,000.
The most serious offences that can only be dealt with by the Crown Court. Examples of indictable only matters are Murder, Conspiracy cases and serious drugs offences.
We will advise in all cases about the most appropriate venue for any case which is an ‘either way’ case. These cases often require our solicitors to talk with you in detail, taking into account all relevant factors to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Even if you intend to enter a guilty plea, the courts still have the power to send your case to the Crown Court for you to be sentenced.
It is always important to consult with a solicitor before attending court. Please contact our solicitors in Wrexham for more information and advice.