1. 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.
2. 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;
3. 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, possession of a fake id etc.
4. 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.
5. 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 citation booking date.