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How to Respond to an Out-of-state Court Summons

Posted on by Townsend Myers

Tourists and students of all ages flock to New Orleans throughout the year for its promise of a good time. Occasionally, that “good time” turns out to be a summons demanding a person’s presence in a New Orleans courtroom, even though he or she lives in another state. To avoid automatically losing the case for failure to appear, here’s how an out-of-state defendant should respond.

Responding to the Summons

An empty court room with a gavel in New Orleans, LA

Most importantly, for those who are trying to get a friend or loved one out of jail, visit this page for assistance. For those who have received a summons or who have been arrested and are already out of jail, then take comfort knowing that the worst part is over. For a misdemeanor charge in New Orleans, the case will be handled in New Orleans Municipal Court. Defendants will be ordered to appear in court within approximately one to ten days from the date of the alleged offense. This is for the arraignment—to plead “guilty” or “not-guilty.” A reputable attorney can represent the defendant in his or her place so that they can either, a) return to their home state if they are from out of town, or b) go about their normal life if they are a local resident.

Requirements for an “In Absentia” State

In some states, like Louisiana, the law allows an attorney to represent an out-of-state defendant in absentia, or in that person’s absence in court. The case can then be left in the hands of a criminal defense lawyer throughout its journey in the court system. This works in the case of most traffic violations and misdemeanor or municipal court cases such as public urination, public intoxication, disturbing the peace, and minor in possession of alcohol, among others. Additionally, the defense attorney may be able to get such cases dismissed, which will keep the instance off the defendant’s permanent record.

For Townsend Myers, a criminal defense lawyer since 1998 and founder of NOLA Criminal Law, legal service means personalized client attention. Mr. Myers is available seven days a week, responding to his cell phone, texts, and emails ASAP regarding any issue or questions. If you find yourself in legal trouble while visiting New Orleans, trust a local attorney with over 20 years of experience helping defendants in municipal court cases. For immediate service, please call (504) 571-9529 anytime or fill out our contact form today.



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