That Is Not a Ticket — Arrest By Summons

When you hear the term “arrest,” you tend to think of handcuffs and mugshots. Those are custodial arrests–a defendant is taken into custody before being released on bond or promise to appear or held in custody before arraignment. Many arrests in Connecticut are not custodial but are by summons. Instead of taking the person into custody on suspicion of committing a crime, a police officer gives him or her a paper, known as a summons, ordering him or her to appear in court on a specific date. This is only done for suspected misdemeanors (crimes punishable by not more than a year). Summonses are commonly used for motor vehicle offenses, such as reckless driving and evading responsibility, and are commonly thought to be tickets. They are not. Tickets are issued for infractions and violations (these are not crimes). They can be paid by mail without even going to court. A summons requires court attendance. When you receive a summons, you are arrested. You are charged with a crime and face potential jail time as well as a criminal conviction. For those reasons, a summons is not to be taken lightly. You should consult with an attorney to discuss your options.

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