What Is a Citation From the Police?

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A citation from a police officer is a legal document that serves as a notice to appear in court in response to a charge against an individual. These kinds of summons are used in financial liability situations, traffic incidents and other legal proceedings where a warrant is not issued. Citations include the name of the officer, the matter the document relates to and the date and time to appear.

A citation is issued by a police officer upon the commission of a crime or the instant at which a person must be summoned to court for a legal matter. Citations are issued in lieu of a warrant and allows an individual to appear in court of their own volition. A citation functions the same way as a summons.

Citations are frequently issued as an accessory to traffic concerns. Moving and parking citations are common in traffic court and provide the defendant with an opportunity to contest charges, speak with a judge, resolve tickets and pay fines.

Most citations require a form of repayment in order for the matter to be dismissed, regardless of in which court the matter is handled. Citations are a matter of public record even once they are resolved and are easy to find on police search sites.