Does a Criminal Summons Go on Your Record?

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One of the common concerns for individuals facing a criminal summons is whether it impacts their criminal record. Understanding the implications of a criminal summons is crucial, especially in navigating future legal and professional scenarios.

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Understanding Criminal Summons

A criminal summons is a legal notice requiring an individual to appear in court. It can be issued for various reasons, including both misdemeanor and felony charges. The critical aspect of a criminal summons is that it signifies that you stand accused of a criminal offense.

Criminal Summons

Does It Affect Your Record?

Contrary to some assumptions, being issued a criminal summons alone does not result in an entry on your criminal record. In fact, the issuance of a summons is fundamentally different from having a conviction.

  • Violations vs. Serious Offenses: For minor offenses, classified as violations, such as unlawful possession of marijuana (under specific amounts) or disorderly conduct, a conviction will not create a record. These violations typically result in a fine rather than criminal charges.
  • Misdemeanors and Felonies: However, for more serious offenses, classified as misdemeanors or felonies, a conviction will go on your criminal record. In such cases, the summons is a precursor to more formal criminal proceedings.

Given that a criminal summons can lead to charges that may affect your record, it’s essential to seek legal representation. An experienced attorney can help navigate the complexities of the legal system, provide advice on how to proceed, and potentially mitigate the long-term impacts on your record.


While a criminal summons itself does not go on your record, the consequences of the charges it represents can have significant long-term effects. It is crucial to understand the nature of the charges you face and to seek professional legal advice. If you receive a criminal summons, it’s a serious matter warranting immediate attention and action.

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