Difference Between A Summons Case And Warrant Case (Overview)

Difference Between A Summons Case And Warrant Case (Overview)

Wondering what is the difference between a summons case and a warrant case?

What does a warrant case mean?

Summons case, what is that all about?

You’re not totally sure what is a summons and what is a warrant to be able to distinguish the two.

In this article, we will go over this in detail.

We will discuss the summons case and warrant case differences so you know exactly what they mean.

You are ready?

Let’s get started!

Summons and warrant case under criminal law

When speaking of a summons vs warrant, we are trying to distinguish between a summons and a warrant in the context of criminal laws and the applicable procedures.

In civil lawsuits, the concept of warrant case does not apply although in exceptional cases the court may order the arrest of someone to be brought before a judge.

There are many types of summons out there.

This article will focus on the summons and warrant in the context of criminal procedures.

To understand the difference between summons and warrant, let’s first look at what is a summons case and then what is a warrant case.

What is a summons case

A summons case is a procedure where a person gets a summons to appear in court without being arrested or detained.

A “summons case” is a case that starts with a summons or a citation informing the recipient that they must show up in court on a given date and time to answer to a charge laid against them.

According to Merriam-Webster, a summons case is “a case in which the offense is a minor one for which a police officer may without arrest notify a person to appear in court at a fixed time and place”.

Typically, a summons is issued for petit cases or minor violations.

Being charged with a minor violation is what we call having a summons case.

A summons case can also be referred to as a “summary conviction offence”. 

This means that a person is charged with a less serious offence and they are not arrested to appear in court.

What is a warrant case

A warrant case is a type of case where someone has committed a serious offence and is arrested by the police authorities, detained and brought in court to appear and respond to charges laid against him or her.

A warrant is defined as a “precept or writ issued by a competent magistrate authorizing an officer to make an arrest, a seizure, or a search or to do other acts incident to the administration of justice”.

A “warrant case” is a type of criminal law case where, due to the seriousness of the charges, a person was arrested and brought to court.

The criminal procedures will be more involved than a summons case.

A warrant case can also be started by a judge.

When a judge issues an order to find and arrest a person to appear in front of a judge, we can also refer to that as a warrant case. 

Once a warrant is issued, the law enforcement officers have the duty to find and detain the person in question until he or she can appear in front of a judge.

Consider the case when a summons was issued to someone who did not show up to court on the date and time required.

The judge may issue a warrant for the person’s arrest to ensure that next time around, the person will appear in court.

A “warrant case” is when the charges laid against a person are of significant importance requiring the arrest of the person for their appearance in court.

In some jurisdictions, a warrant case can also be referred to as an “indictable offence” case.

An indictable offence is a more serious charge and the person charged with an indictable offence will be arrested to appear in court.

Court procedures applicable to a summons case and warrant case

What is the difference between a summons case and a warrant case with respect to the court procedures?

The court procedures in dealing with a warrant case is different than the court procedures in handling a summons case. 

A summons case or a summary conviction offence is dealt with in a faster way in court.

These are charges and offences of lesser importance and so the processing of these case are faster and less involved than in a warrant case or an indictable offence cases.

A warrant case or an indictable offence cases are for much more serious charges.

The court process will be involved and a person can face severe consequences depending on the charges laid against him or her.

In most cases, a warrant case will require the support and assistance of a lawyer.

Applicable court procedures 

In some cases, the police authorities or a prosecutor have some discretion to use a summons case or a warrant case. 

In the context of a summons case, the police authorities or prosecutor can choose to proceed by using a warrant rather than a summons.

The warrant will be used when a person is considered to be a flight risk or poses a danger to the community.

A summons case can be handled as a warrant case.

There are some cases that are hybrid cases and can be handled as a warrant or a summons.

In such cases, called hybrid offences, the prosecutor will choose how to proceed in court based on the seriousness of the facts of the case.

A violation or a charge that is a warrant case must follow a warrant case procedure. 

These type of cases cannot be handled as a summons case.

Takeaways

A summons case refers to a violation of lesser importance where the police officer issues a citation or notice to appear to a person to appear in court.

In a summons case, the person charged with an offence is not arrested or detained until the first court appearance.

A warrant case is a type of case where the police authorities will arrest and detail the person until the first court appearance.

This is the case for important charges laid against a person.

There are some other cases called hybrid cases where the law enforcement officers or prosecutor can proceed in either a summons-case fashion or warrant-case fashion.

If a person is a risk to society or the police has doubts that they’ll appear in court when a summons is issued, they’ll arrest the person to appear in court.

Do you know anyone who experienced a summons case or a warrant case?

What do you understand to be the difference between a summons case and warrant case?

Would be great to hear about that.

Drop us a comment.