The court process begins when a police officer serves you with a complaint or summons. When you receive a complaint or summons, you are being charged with a criminal offense. The complaint will contain a brief description of the offense(s) you are charged with and the type of charge (felony or misdemeanor). The summons informs you of the date and time you must appear in court for your initial appearance.
You must appear in court for your initial appearance, no matter how innocent you believe you are. If you are not in court for your initial appearance, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.
Being charged with a misdemeanor offense is a serious matter. It is important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer will explain the charges against you, provide legal options, discuss sentencing possibilities, and will help you decide how you should proceed. A lawyer can be assigned to you if you cannot afford one and you are facing jail time if found guilty.