What is a Summons in Fairfax?

Navigating through the criminal justice system can be difficult, especially if you are unfamiliar with the process and/or legal terminology. If you are arrested for a misdemeanor or felony, or ticketed for a traffic infraction, contacting an experienced attorney is the single most important decision you can make. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer can explain the law to you in an easy to understand manner. More importantly, they can protect your rights and help you devise an effective defense strategy.

In Virginia, being arrested and being taken into custody are not the same. If you are arrested in Fairfax, police use their discretion to decide if the offense is serious enough to transport you to jail, or minor enough that you be “released on a summons.” In Virginia, a “summons” is what is referred to in other states as a ticket. If police stop and ticket you for speeding, you are actually being arrested and “released with a summons.”

A Virginia Uniform Summons (ticket) will list the crime or infraction you are accused of committing, as well as a date and time for a court appearance.  Generally, when people are “released with a summons” it is for a misdemeanor crime or infraction. When you receive a ticket for a traffic infraction, take special note of the date and time that you are required to appear in court. If you fail to attend court at the right time or day, your situation will only get worse.

What is a warrant?

A warrant is a written document issued by a magistrate, authorizing law enforcement to arrest someone, search a premises, or seize a property, in the interests of justice. For example, if there is a warrant out for your arrest, it means that police have been granted legal authority by a judge to apprehend you.

The main difference between a warrant and a summons is that a warrant is a written document that elevates the powers of police while a summons is a legal order for a defendant to appear in court. If there is a warrant for your arrest, it is vital that you contact a skilled attorney. The sooner you seek legal counsel, the more likely you are to mount an effective defense that can thwart the prosecution’s case against you.

Contact a seasoned criminal defense lawyer in Virginia

At The NoVa Law Firm, we work tirelessly to protect the rights, future, and freedom of clients throughout Northern Virginia. Located in Fairfax, our firm is dedicated to defending clients accused of traffic infractions, misdemeanors, and felony offenses. To discuss your case with an experienced criminal law attorney, call (703) 352-9347 or contact us online.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
About the Author: Eric Clingan

About the Author: Eric Clingan

Eric Clingan is an experienced Criminal Defense attorney and the founder of the NoVA Law firm. He focuses his practice on defending residents of Northern Virginia charged with DUIs, reckless driving, drug charges, and other criminal accusations

Related Posts


Office: (703) 352-9347
Or fill out the form below