A person may be spoken to by the police or other investigators about an allegation and a report made to decide if an information should be laid. If it is decided to lay a complaint, she or he would then receive a summons to appear in a particular court at a time and on a date stated in the summons. This is most likely to happen with certain criminal offences where the authorities feel it is better to report, rather than arrest, the person.
A summons is usually served by a police officer or an officer or employee of a public authority, who either gives it personally to the person to whom it is directed or leaves it with someone else who appears to be aged 16 years or more at the person's last or most usual address [Summary Procedure Act 1921 (SA) s 27]. Unless the possible punishment for the offence is imprisonment or the loss of a driver's licence, a summons may be posted [Summary Procedure Act 1921 (SA) s 27A].
For more serious offences, a person may be arrested by police without a warrant and then, subject to special provisions of the law allowing a delay, must be taken to a police station in as short a time as reasonably possible to be formally charged with the offence [ Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) s 78]. She or he may be granted bail by the police officer in charge of the police station (police bail) and must then appear before a Magistrates Court for the first time at a later specified date. If refused police bail she or he must be taken before the court as soon as possible, where she or he may again apply for bail (court bail), see ARREST, YOUR RIGHTS AND BAIL, Bail.
A further option is that a warrant may be issued. This allows any police officer to arrest the person named in the warrant and take her or him to court. This step is usually taken when the person's address is not known and any police officer seeing the person must have the power to arrest. Another situation in which an arrest warrant is issued is when a person has not come to court in answer to their bail or in answer to a summons [ Summary Procedure Act 1921 (SA) s 58].
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