Gainesville Personal Injury, Divorce and Alimony Attorney

Criminal Summons in Florida

What happens upon receipt of a Criminal Summons in Florida? In some jurisdictions, the use of a Criminal Summons was part of criminal justice even prior to COVID. Some people are surprised to receive a Summons, while others are made aware of a criminal investigation and may be expecting it or relieved to receive a Summons instead of being arrested.

When the State of Florida files criminal charges and, presuming a person is not arrested on the scene of an alleged crime, there are two ways to notify the defendant. A criminal defendant is notified either by an arrest or by issuing a Summons, also called a Notice to Appear. When a person receives a Summons, they must respond or else the Judge will issue an arrest warrant. Most people should view receiving a Summons as better than being arrested.

Typically, the Sheriff’s Office will not discuss a Summons over the telephone, and someone has to physically appear at the Sheriff’s Office. A lawyer may be able to respond to the summons on behalf of the summonsed individual, which can be beneficial or just bring peace of mind. A person receiving a Summons in criminal cases should respond to the Summons by themselves or by a lawyer instead of choosing to be arrested. Upon responding to a Summons, an arrest can be avoided. As for timing and all the rules, the service of a Summons functions the same as an arrest. For example, it starts the clock of speedy trial.

In any criminal case, the accused is entitled to have a lawyer appointed, however, lawyers are not appointed to the accused during the investigation, arrest or Summons portions of the case. A Public Defender is assigned by the Court after the Summons is served or an arrest is made. For assistance responding to a Summons or any criminal case, please click, call, text (352) 371-9141 or fill out the form.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529

Leaving The Scene Of Crash Involving Death – Actual Knowledge Required

The criminal traffic charge of Leaving the Scene of an Accident (LSA) or Hit and Run from a crash involving a death is a serious felony.

An appellate court considering a case of leaving the scene of a crash involving death, addressed the issue of whether the jury instructions should require that the driver had to have actual knowledge of the crash or should read that the accused knew or should have known about the crash. There is a big difference between the two.

Even though the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that actual knowledge of a crash is a required element, the driver in that case, did not dispute the fact that a crash had occurred. Instead, she claimed to have believed at the time that she had hit a traffic cone or barrel. Disputing what was struck means that she admitted having actual knowledge of the crash and then appealed claiming actual knowledge was an issue. This is another example that the only thing media has correct is that anything said or done will be used against the accused. She admitted the crash; the actual knowledge requirement was upheld but that didn’t help the Appellant who admitted knowledge of the crash.

The minimum penalty for hit and run or LSA with a death is four (4) years in prison and a three (3) year revocation of the driving privilege. The revocation period of the driver’s license does not start until the defendant is released from prison. (Read more about Hit and Run – Leaving the Scene of an Accident). These are serious cases. Normally, a person accused will also have to consider hiring an expert to reconstruct the accident. It is imperative that you hire a lawyer and expert with experience litigating or taking these accident cases to trial.

If you or a loved one is accused of leaving the scene, click, call, text (352) 371-9141 or fill out the form to hire a criminal traffic attorney.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529