A citation is a written notice issued by a law enforcement officer or another authorized official informing a person that they have been charged with violating a law or ordinance. Citations are often used for minor offenses, such as traffic violations, rather than more serious crimes that would require an arrest.
When a person receives a citation, they are typically required to appear in court or pay a fine within a certain time period. If they fail to do so, they may face additional penalties, such as an arrest warrant or additional fines.
In some jurisdictions, citations may be issued through a process known as citation in lieu of arrest, which allows an officer to issue a citation to a person for a minor offense rather than arresting them. This can save law enforcement time and resources and allow individuals to resolve their charges more quickly and conveniently. However, the use of citations can be controversial, as some critics argue that they may be used to target certain groups unfairly or to cover up more serious crimes.