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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 88706
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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Im in my final year of law school and know a Summons and Complaint

Customer Question

Im in my final year of law school and know a Summons and Complaint are involved in civil lawsuits I was not aware that they can be used in a criminal case. A relative in the same State I live in Washington was served with a Summons and Complaint for a DWI she is prescribed methadone and is what showed up resulting in the DWI Im sure. So do you file an answer the same way you would a civil lawsuit? Would you also file a motion to dismiss the same way you would a civil lawsuit?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
On a criminal case, the complaint is the charging document for the DWI and the summons is a notice of appearance in the court to enter a plea. No written answer is given and your relative does not want to make ANY statements at all about the incident, they want to get an attorney as they have a right to one and a right to not incriminate themselves under the 5th Amendment. Once the plea is entered they can file a motion to dismiss depending upon the sufficiency of the evidence presented by the prosecution, but this is not done right away in a criminal case, the arraignment occurs first and then the attorney can request a probable cause hearing and based on that hearing, there could be a motion to dismiss filed.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So for the plea which document is used to respond to the courts with? I have access to US Legal Forms. On both the Summons and complaint no court date has not been set yet so I immagine that a court date will be set once the plea is submitted. Is it submitted to both the DA and the court? Im sure they will end up using an attorney but I need to know for my own benefit.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
There is no document, the defendant appears in court and their name is called and they walk up in front of the court and the judge reads the charges and asks how the defendant pleads at which time they say "not guilty." There is no written response on a criminal case, they will have to appear in court and enter an oral plea.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
On the complaint it says a response is needed and that defendant must respond within 14 days or a warrant may be issued for there arrest, there is no court date on either the summons or complaint, thats why I was really confused as in a civil lawsuit there is no court date you file an answer go into discovery then once parties are ready submit trial readiness etc. So some type of response is needed and required and she may need to do this intial process until she decides on who to use.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
This person was never arrested and has never appeared in court yet?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
That is correct this person has never been arrested for this charge or ever appeared in court I can scan both the summons and complaint so that you can see as well that is why this totally through me off like they had to reply just like in a civil suit

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