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Notice to Appear in Florida - Was I actually arrested?

Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.125 states that unless indicated otherwise, a Notice to Appear means a written order issued by a law enforcement officer in lieu of physical arrest requiring a person accused of violating the law to appear in a designated court or governmental office at a specified date and time.

In Duval County, a Notice to Appear comes in a few forms. It can look like a traffic ticket for charges like Driving While License Suspended or Expired Driver’s License for More than 6 Months. Notices to Appear can also be issued for certain 1st and 2nd degree misdemeanors such as marijuana or drug paraphernalia possession and petit theft or violations of municipal ordinances like drinking in public and open container. For those charges in Duval County, you can receive an actual document titled “Notice to Appear.” Please understand, these are the equivalent of a physical arrest in terms of criminal charges. It will show up on a criminal background check and could result in a criminal conviction.

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