As a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney and a Jacksonville drug defense attorney we deal with all types of criminal charges. One of the most frequently asked questions is “My son (daughter) received a ticket for possession of marijuana, do they really need to go to court?” Always, the answer is YES.
In this circumstance, the individual received a citation or ticket that is known as a Notice to Appear, also sometimes referred to a “written arrest.” Pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.125, Notice to Appear is “a written order by a law enforcement officer in lieu of physical arrest requiring a person accused of violation of the law to appear in a designated court or governmental office at a specified date and time.”
While this Notice to Appear may look citation or ticket, it has the same effect as if you were handcuffed, taken to jail, and booked into custody. These citations or tickets often times give an individual a false sense of security in the sense that their current case is not serious. However, if you received a Notice to Appear, you are facing criminal charges and the all the consequences, including possible jail time, that follow
Many times, a Notice to Appear is issued for criminal offenses such as petit theft or possession of marijuana where the individual has no or minimal prior record. Also, many criminal traffic offenses, such as Driving While License Suspended or Leaving the Scene of an Accident are issued a Notice to Appear rather than physically arresting the individual.
Depending on the county the Notice to Appear is received, it is generally required that the individual receiving the citation request a court date within ten (10) days of the issuance of the citation. Failure to request a court date many times will result in an arrest warrant issued for that individual.