What you need to know about Criminal Misdemeanor Citations in Nashville, Tennessee
- What does it mean to get a Criminal Misdemeanor Citation in Davidson County, Tennessee?
The short answer is that it is basically the same thing as getting arrested, yet you were spared the humiliation of being physically arrested, put in jail, and forced to call someone to bail you out.
- If it is basically the same as an arrest then why didn’t the officer arrest me?
Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-7-118(b)(1) provides:
A peace officer who has arrests a person for the commission of a misdemeanor committed in such peace officer’s presence … shall issue a citation to such arrested person to appear in court in lieu of the continued custody and the taking of the arrested person before a magistrate [unless:]. . .
(1) The person arrested requires medical examination or medical care, or if such person is unable to care for such person’s own safety;
(2) There is a reasonable likelihood that the offense would continue or resume, or that persons or property would be endangered by the arrested person;
(3) The person arrested cannot or will not offer satisfactory evidence of identification, including the providing of a field-administered fingerprint or thumbprint which a peace officer may require to be affixed to any citation;
(4) The prosecution of the offense for which the person was arrested, or of another offense, would thereby be jeopardized;
(5) A reasonable likelihood exists that the arrested person will fail to appear in court;
(6) The person demands to be taken immediately before a magistrate or refuses to sign the citation;
(7) The person arrested is so intoxicated that such person could be a danger to such person or to others; or
(8) There are one (1) or more outstanding arrest warrants for the person. (emphasis added).
Essentially, this statute provides that although a person who has committed a misdemeanor in an officer’s presence may be placed under arrest, the person should be placed under custodial arrest and given a citation unless one of the eight exceptions is applicable. The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals has previously held that under this statute, a police officer must issue a citation and may not effect a full custodial arrest of a person who has committed a misdemeanor unless one of the eight exceptions is applicable. State v. Chearis, 995 S.W.2d 641, 644 (Tenn.Crim.App.1999).
By giving an individual a citation in lieu of arrest, it also saves the police officer a considerable amount of time as the officer can simply completes the citation form and avoids having to escort the offender down to the Nashville jail and apply for an arrest warrant before a night court commissioner.
- What types of charges receive misdemeanor citations? Common examples include theft under $500, indecent exposure, patronizing prostitution, simple possession or unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, underage possession or alcohol, etc.
- What misdemeanor offenses are not likely to receive a citation? Driving under the influence and assault are two offenses where those charged are generally arrested as police officers are generally concerned that the crime could resume after a citation is given.
- If I get a citation what should I do? You should treat the citation the same as you would an arrest. Most with the financial resources to afford it, hire an attorney. Misdemeanors can carry up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and can lead to a permanent criminal record. Someone charged with a misdemeanor citation should take these consequences serious. You should have an attorney hired in advance of your first court date.
Contact a reputable Nashville criminal citation defense attorney immediately.
If you have received a citation contact a criminal citation defense attorney now. Steps can be taken immediately that can dramatically improve your chances of a favorable outcome.
Contact the criminal defense lawyers at Raybin & Weissman at (615) 256-6666 for a free consultation. We serve Nashville, Davidson County and all of Middle Tennessee.