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What happens if you are served with a Criminal Court summons?

A Criminal Court summons is served in instances where there is no urgency, and the accused has a fixed address; if there is no reason for a prosecutor to assume that the accused may flee to avoid their attendance in court. The summons shall be served on the accused personally, or if they cannot be found, it may be served on a person over the age of 16, residing at the accused’s confirmed residence or place of business. The summons shall be served at least 14 days before the date determined for trial.

If you are served with a summons, you will need to appear in court on the trial day at the venue and time specified, or face charges of contempt of court, which is serious and carries a jail time sentence.

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What happens if you are served with a written notice to appear in the Criminal Court?

A written notice to appear in the Criminal Court is served on the accused by the Police. It outlines the offence committed, as well as the venue, date and time for the accused’s first appearance in court on the matter.

Along with the date, there is an admission of guilt fine option that the accused may pay to avoid having to appear in court. The fine shall not exceed R5 000.

The accused should be aware that the payment of this fine amounts to a criminal record and this criminal record shall exist against your name unless you opt to have it expunged, which is only possible after 10 years.

If you are served with a notice to appear in the criminal court, this should be treated seriously and diarized.

What happens if you fail to show in a Criminal Court on your date of appearance?  

Failure to pay the admission of guilt fine as well as failure to appear in court on the date specified shall result in a warrant of arrest being issued by the court and this offence is punishable by fine or imprisonment.

If you have been served with a written notice or summons and you are not guilty of the offence, it is advised that the accused appear on the court date to ascertain what evidence the state has for the matter. If you are able to afford an attorney, the attorney could accompany you to your first appearance and speak to the prosecutor on your behalf. This may lead to the matter being referred for mediation or being struck off the roll if there is not enough evidence.

How can Our Attorneys at Bailey Haynes Inc. help you?

Our law firm in Cape Town addresses all aspects of the law brought to our offices. We offer Criminal Attorney services with high experienced attorneys who are very familiar with how to deal with criminal matters and can represent you when you have been served with either a summons or written notice.

Our attorneys in Cape Town require a consultation with the accused to advise on the accused’s options and to make a recommendation on their best plan of action going forward.

Additionally, there is an option to have an Advocate briefed to present your case to the Presiding Officer.

Criminal attorney services at Bailey Haynes includes the preparation for all types of criminal trials.

Contact us for more information.

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