A Monday Night Football game in New Orleans between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New Orleans Saints offers plenty of opportunity for certain people to run into trouble with the law. Arrests for DUI, drug possession, disturbing the peace, battery and public intoxication are certain to happen as folks celebrate (or commiserate) after the game.
Arrest versus Summons
If you are in town for the game you should know a few things about what is likely to happen if you are involved in any of these types of offenses. First things first: some of theses offenses will result in your being arrested, while others will get you a summons to appear in court without arrest.
For any felony crime, you must be arrested – you cannot get a summons to appear. Felony crimes include all drug possession offenses other than simple possession of marijuana, any crimes of violence, and property offenses where the value of the property exceeds $500.
For most misdemeanor offenses, you can receive a summons (though it is not automatic – the decision is made by the citing police officer). Misdemeanor offenses that generally merit a summons to appear are: simple possession of marijuana, disturbing the peace, criminal trespass, lewd conduct and minor in possession of alcohol.
Misdemeanors involving the consumption – or overconsumption – of alcohol generally demand arrest (for public safety reasons). These offenses would include DUI, DWI and public intoxication (drunk in public).
For misdemeanors involving fighting (simple battery, simple assault, disturbing the peace by fighting) the decision to arrest of write a summons is usually based on the seriousness of the offense, or the degree of the injury. For minor tussles, a summons is generally appropriate. For serious fights with injury, an arrest is generally made.
What can I expect if I get arrested or served with a summons?
What happens when you have been arrested or have received a summons to appear depends on the type of case you have. Your first step should be to learn about your case and the options you have to defend it. Check out this page to answer some basic question you may have, and give you an idea of what to expect. Nothing can take the place of a consultation with an experienced lawyer, and if get arrested or receive a summons, I would suggest you do this.
If you are from out of town you may be ordered to appear in court after the date you are scheduled to leave town. This is not a problem if you have a lawyer. In most case your lawyer can represent you from beginning to end without you needing to go to court, and still achieve the result you need. Please click here for more information.