What is a Cite and Release in Los Angeles?

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If you are suspected of committing a low-level misdemeanor or infraction in Los Angeles you won’t necessarily be brought to jail. LAPD has the option to offer a “cite and release” instead.

When a police officer issues a cite and release, they charge you with the crime and then release you on your signed promise that you will show up to your court dates. It has become very common during the Covid-19 pandemic in an attempt to lower transmission rates.

Cite and release orders are common for:

  • Assault
  • Disorderly conduct
  • First-offense DUI/DWI with no injuries
  • Petty theft
  • Speeding

46.6% of misdemeanor defendants receive a cite and release after booking

The police do not owe anyone a cite and release; they may always opt to arrest someone who poses a threat to public safety. They may also opt to arrest anyone who won’t sign the citation. They tend to take people in if they don’t have ID as well, or if they have reason to believe you will turn around and commit another crime or go off to destroy any evidence. An outstanding warrant or an existing criminal record are two more reasons why a police officer may opt for an arrest over a cite and release. 

The officer does end up having to explain why they chose not to release you rather than allowing you to sign the promise. 

During a cite and release, police officers may book and fingerprint you on the scene, or take you back to the station for booking and fingerprinting. It is very important to exercise your right to remain silent during this process as speaking up might well allow the police officers to gather more than enough evidence to see you convicted later. 

If you get a cite and release, follow these steps to make the most of your time out of jail:

  • Mark your court date or dates. Make very sure you understand when and where you must appear. Your first date will be the arraignment.
  • Keep a copy of your citation. 
  • Contact a lawyer immediately. Be ready to talk about the circumstances under which you were arrested and any exculpatory evidence which might exist.

Be aware that you are still in some trouble if you get a cite and release, unless it’s for a traffic infraction. You’re being charged with a crime. A misdemeanor can still mean jail time. The conviction will still show up in background checks, barring you from certain jobs and homes. Use the time wisely to choose and consult with an attorney.

See also:

What Does It Take to Get Criminal Charges Dropped in Los Angeles, CA? 

How to Exercise Your 5th Amendment Rights After a Los Angeles Arrest

How Does Bail Work in Los Angeles?

 

What is a Cite and Release in Los Angeles?

inne-rpage-seperator

If you are suspected of committing a low-level misdemeanor or infraction in Los Angeles you won’t necessarily be brought to jail. LAPD has the option to offer a “cite and release” instead.

When a police officer issues a cite and release, they charge you with the crime and then release you on your signed promise that you will show up to your court dates. It has become very common during the Covid-19 pandemic in an attempt to lower transmission rates.

Cite and release orders are common for:

  • Assault
  • Disorderly conduct
  • First-offense DUI/DWI with no injuries
  • Petty theft
  • Speeding

46.6% of misdemeanor defendants receive a cite and release after booking

The police do not owe anyone a cite and release; they may always opt to arrest someone who poses a threat to public safety. They may also opt to arrest anyone who won’t sign the citation. They tend to take people in if they don’t have ID as well, or if they have reason to believe you will turn around and commit another crime or go off to destroy any evidence. An outstanding warrant or an existing criminal record are two more reasons why a police officer may opt for an arrest over a cite and release. 

The officer does end up having to explain why they chose not to release you rather than allowing you to sign the promise. 

During a cite and release, police officers may book and fingerprint you on the scene, or take you back to the station for booking and fingerprinting. It is very important to exercise your right to remain silent during this process as speaking up might well allow the police officers to gather more than enough evidence to see you convicted later. 

If you get a cite and release, follow these steps to make the most of your time out of jail:

  • Mark your court date or dates. Make very sure you understand when and where you must appear. Your first date will be the arraignment.
  • Keep a copy of your citation. 
  • Contact a lawyer immediately. Be ready to talk about the circumstances under which you were arrested and any exculpatory evidence which might exist.

Be aware that you are still in some trouble if you get a cite and release, unless it’s for a traffic infraction. You’re being charged with a crime. A misdemeanor can still mean jail time. The conviction will still show up in background checks, barring you from certain jobs and homes. Use the time wisely to choose and consult with an attorney.

See also:

What Does It Take to Get Criminal Charges Dropped in Los Angeles, CA? 

How to Exercise Your 5th Amendment Rights After a Los Angeles Arrest

How Does Bail Work in Los Angeles?

 

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