As part of the COVID-19 response, Nashville Police have been issuing criminal citations or summonses instead of arresting people. Do those who receive a citations or summons for a criminal charge still need a lawyer?
Yes! A criminal citation and summons is still a criminal charge that will require appearing in court and the possibility of jail time and a permanent record.
The only difference is that when a person is arrested, they are taken to jail and booked immediately. With a citation or a summons, the person is given a “booking date” to appear in the future. After that, the process in court and the potential consequences is exactly the same.
Police have always issued citations or summons in situations where an arrest may not immediately be necessary, such as when it is only for a minor charge and there is no concern the offense will continue. Examples include simple possession of marijuana, patronizing prostitution, or selling alcohol to a minor.
Due to efforts to reduce the jail population and courthouse attendance, police have been encouraged to expand situations where the issue a citation or summons instead of arresting the person on the spot.
Even if your booking date is not for several more weeks, it is still good to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. One reason is that Nashville has already extended booking dates out twice, and your lawyer will be best able to determine whether they have extended the date again. Your lawyer may also be able to change or extend the date of your booking if necessary. Moreover, your lawyer can answer any questions about your case and the court process.
If you have received a citation or summons, call us at 615-256-6666 to speak to one of our criminal defense attorneys or fill out the form below.