(a) Definition. - A citation is a directive, issued by a law enforcement officer or other person authorized by statute, that a person appear in court and answer a misdemeanor or infraction charge or charges.
(b) When Issued. - An officer may issue a citation to any person who he has probable cause to believe has committed a misdemeanor or infraction.
(c) Contents. - The citation must:
(1) Identify the crime charged, including the date, and where material, identify the property and other persons involved,
(2) Contain the name and address of the person cited, or other identification if that cannot be ascertained,
(3) Identify the officer issuing the citation, and
(4) Cite the person to whom issued to appear in a designated court, at a designated time and date.
(d) Service. - A copy of the citation shall be delivered to the person cited who may sign a receipt on the original which shall thereafter be filed with the clerk by the officer. If the cited person refuses to sign, the officer shall certify delivery of the citation by signing the original, which shall thereafter be filed with the clerk. Failure of the person cited to sign the citation shall not constitute grounds for his arrest or the requirement that he post a bond. When a citation is issued for a parking offense, a copy shall be delivered to the operator of a vehicle who is present at the time of service, or shall be delivered to the registered owner of the vehicle if the operator is not present by affixing a copy of the citation to the vehicle in a conspicuous place.
(e) Dismissal by Prosecutor. - If the prosecutor finds that no crime or infraction is charged in the citation, or that there is insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution, he may dismiss the charge and so notify the person cited. An appropriate entry must be made in the records of the clerk. It is not necessary to enter the dismissal in open court or to obtain consent of the judge.
(f) Citation No Bar to Criminal Summons or Warrant. - If the offense is a misdemeanor, a criminal summons or a warrant may issue notwithstanding the prior issuance of a citation for the same offense. If a defendant fails to appear in court as directed by a citation that charges the defendant with a misdemeanor, an order for arrest for failure to appear may be issued by a judicial official.
(g) Preparation of Form. - The form and content of the citation is as prescribed by the Administrative Officer of the Courts. The form of citation used for violation of the motor vehicle laws must contain a notice that the driving privilege of the person cited may be revoked for failure to appear as cited, and must be prepared as provided in G.S. 7A-148(b). (1973, c. 1286, s. 1; 1975, c. 166, ss. 3, 27; 1983, c. 327, s. 4; 1985, c. 385; c. 764, s. 4; 1989, c. 243, s. 1; 2003-15, s. 1.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014