May 18th, 2015

Summons vs Arrest for Someone in the Hospital

Setting: Modern day Massachusetts

Issue: I have a character who, in the course of defending herself, goes far above and beyond reasonable force and brutally, deliberately, kills her attacker. But she's also injured - multiple, non fatal stab wounds - and undergoes surgery.

At first it's not clear that she used excessive, deliberate force - that comes out during a police interview. The dead man's family is politically connected and pushing for a conviction. Family would like murder charges, probably to be plead down to manslaughter.

How would this realistically play out? What would the timeline look like?

My character is in the hospital, has very strong ties to the community and is not a flight risk (and is physically incapable of fleeing at this point). Would an arrest warrant be served in the hospital? Would she be taken into custody despite just being out of surgery? Could she receive a summons to appear for arraignment? How long would that take? Would a summons be delivered in person or by mail?

Research has included investigation of state laws regarding self defense and murder charges, looking into arrest vs summons and timelines of legal proceedings. I'm just having trouble finding information pertaining to a person who is in the hospital and physically incapacitated.

I know I can claim work of fiction and twist things to suit my needs, but I would like to keep it as close to reality as possible.