April 2015
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What Is A Criminal Summons? 

Being charged with a crime is a frightening experience. At Serafano & Syder LLP we understand the severe consequences associated with being charged with a crime, and the stress the situation places on you and your family. To help ease the burden, we develop a defense strategy that is specifically tailored to your case and are at your side every step of the way. In order to create an effective defense, we start at the beginning and examine every aspect of your case.


A criminal case begins with an arrest. An arrest can be made right away or with an arrest warrant. A good example of a type of case where the arrest is immediate is a DUI. In those instances the officer that made the traffic stop can place you under arrest if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit. In other cases, an arrest might come after the alleged criminal act was committed. This happens when law enforcement seek a warrant for your arrest. If a warrant is not requested, the state can seek to have a

criminal summons issued. The information contained in a criminal summons is as follows:

  • Identification of the person accused, by name.
  • A description of the alleged crime committed.
  • A Judge's signature, authorizing issuance of the summons.

The summons also includes information as to the date and time the defendant must appear. Those charges with crimes by use of a criminal summons can submit to "being booked", and the summons also contains information on how that process works. If you have received a criminal summons, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled attorney will explain the papers to you and help you through the process. Failing to answer the summons has severe fines and penalties, and simply ignoring its existence will not make the matter disappear.

Can I Keep My Car If I File Bankruptcy?

The bankruptcy laws are voluminous and complex. There are a lot of things people do not understand about bankruptcy, urban legends if you will. One of the most common misconceptions is that when you file for bankruptcy, you can keep your things without paying. This is just not the case. While it is true that you are able to keep the things you want, you do have to continue to make payments on those items. For instance, if you are going to remain in your home, you still have to make the mortgage payments. The same goes for your car, or other debts that are secured by a lien.


The way you keep paying for your things is called a reaffirmation agreement. A reaffirmation agreement is essentially the same as entering a new loan contract with the lender. The agreement will set forth the amount due and the repayment terms. Failure to abide by these terms results in the lender being able to sue you for the money that is due. Because this seems contradictory to the purpose of bankruptcy, it is important to know the benefits of reaffirming a debt. Some of these benefits include:


  • Faster rebuilding of your credit
  • Maintaining a good relationship with the lender, which could benefit you in the event you are unable to make payments in the future and need to ask for an extension or other grace periods. Remaining in good standing with your lender is also helpful if you need to apply for credit at some time after the bankruptcy case is completed.
  • Reaffirming the debt allows the creditor to discuss the account with you, absent such an agreement the lender is prohibited from talking to you about the debt since it is technically no longer owed.

The most important part of the decision to reaffirm a debt is knowing that when you do so, the debt is still due even after the bankruptcy case is over. This is unlike other debts, which are "wiped out" by filing bankruptcy. Typically the types of debts that are reaffirmed are secured debts, which are those obligations where the lender has a lien on the collateral until the loan is paid in full. Most home and auto loans are secured debts. In contrast, an unsecured debt is that debt for which there is no lien on any property. Credit card debt is the most common form of unsecured debt. There is no benefit to reaffirming an unsecured debt, since it will remain due after bankruptcy and the purpose of bankruptcy is to eliminate burdensome financial obligations. Credit cards typically have high interest rates and continuing to make payments without making headway does not provide the debtor a fresh financial start.


For more information about bankruptcy and when to reaffirm, call our office. We offer an individualized approach, and work with you to develop a strategy that meets your needs. Contact our office today for answers to the questions that matter most to you.

"I hired Alan Snyder of Serafano & Snyder, LLP to assist me with obtaining sole custody of my children. Over the years, my ex husband had become abusive towards my children, more and more hostile to me and grew increasingly dependent on alcohol to get him through his day. It had reached a point where I could not be around him and my children were afraid of him. No matter how many times I begged, he would not seek help or guidance. Mr. Snyder assured me that he could help and sure enough, he did. I now have my children under my roof where they feel safe and secure and their grades are improving steadily. Per Mr. Snyder's suggestion, my ex is enrolled in parenting and anger management classes as a prerequisite to seeing our children again. I cannot thank Mr. Snyder enough for his thoughtful and effective advocacy and I would highly recommend him to anyone finding themselves in a situation similar to mine." 
- Kathlyn M. 

"I endorse this lawyer. Donald genuinely cares about his client and has the legal expertise and experience to get the best results." 
- Mark Bigger

"I endorse Donald. He is a highly skilled attorney that is well respected in the legal community." 
- Michael Waddington
If you have questions about criminal summons, call our office for answers. When you know what to expect, you are able to make an informed decision about your freedom and future. Call us today to schedule an appointment to learn more.