I received a summons but my name is misspelled. What happens?

Updated: May 11





Not much I'm afraid.

Well, not usually anyway.

It depends on the error. If the error involves a misspelling of your name, then it almost certainly will not be struck out.

If the error involves a misspelling of your address, the same rules apply.

These rules are not written in stone: the Judge reserves the right whether to amend the summons or not.

What usually happens is that if an error (a defect) appears on the face of the summons the Gardai will bring this error to the attention of the Judge when the case first appears in court. They will then make an application to “amend the summons”.

The general rule of thumb is that if the amendment sought is minor (e.g. slight spelling error in name or address) this error will be deemed “minor” and the amendment will very likely be granted.

However, if the amendment sought is more substantial then the Judge has the discretion to refuse to make the amendment.

For instance, if the name and/or address on the summons is completely wrong then any application by the State to amend would not be regarded as minor.

If the Judge decides to throw the case out of court, you’ll always be asking that the Judge dismisses it rather than merely striking it out.
This stops the State from coming after you a second time.

A wrong name is a material error, and the Judge should refuse to allow the amendment.

Similarly, if the nature of the offence was completely wrong (e.g. you were supposed to receive a summons for No Tax and instead received one for Careless Driving) then any attempt to amend the summons should be opposed by your lawyer and rejected by the Judge.

It should be rejected because the amendment sought “goes to the very heart” of the summons and both offences have absolutely nothing to do with one another.

In other words, the change sought here can hardly be regarded as immaterial or minor.

Because of that the Judge should refuse to amend the summons.

Now, the Judge has 2 options: strike the case out or dismiss the case.

Striking the case out is just like you’d imagine: the case is thrown out of court.

But there's a catch.

A strike out doesn’t stop Gardai from applying for a new summons and starting the process all over again.

Provided that the case is not statute barred.

But if the Judge decides to “dismiss” the case, then the Gardai are prohibited from issuing a new summons in this case.

So, if the Judge does decide to throw the case out of court, you’ll always be asking that the Judge dismisses it rather than merely striking it out.

This stops the State from coming after you a second time.

Again, this decision –whether to strike out or dismiss- is entirely at the discretion of the Judge.

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