Articles Posted in Cite In Criminal Case

Many of our clients are detained by private security guards who make a Citizens Arrest, and are then transferred to the custody of Los Angeles police officers who draft up the police report. The police report is one of the most important pieces of evidence the Prosecution has when charging someone with a crime. The police report contains detailed facts about the incident that gave rise to the alleged crime, and holds high credibility. The report is generally taken as truth by the criminal court and Judge, because it is based on the direct observations of the officers as they made the arrest and the acts leading up to the arrest.

However, in many cases, the officers are not present at the time of the actions leading up the arrest, yet the police report is still taken as valid evidence.

Let’s consider the common example of shoplifting. When a person has been caught shoplifting, the actions are generally observed by in store private security, not by Los Angeles police officers. When officers arrive at the scene, the private security will inform the officers as to what happened, and let officers deal with the next steps in prosecuting someone.

In many criminal cases, the person being charged has not been formally arrested and taken into custody. Oftentimes a Los Angeles police officer is not even the one that observes the law being violated; it is a private security guard or someone similar.

If there is an altercation, or an incident that involves unlawful behavior, many times a police officer is not on site. In those situations, a private security guard or officer is authorized to stop the person committing the alleged crime and question them. Based on the statements of the security guard, officers who then arrive on the scene may cite the person asking them to appear in court, and never have them formally arrested.

Let’s consider an example. David is accused of shoplifting at Macy’s by private security guards working at the department store. They alleged that David stole several items of clothing and detain him for questioning. The officers base their accusations on surveillance tapes and experience with behavior of someone who has taken items in the past. Los Angeles police officers arrive at the scene and listen to the statements made by Macy’s private security. Based on these statements, they write up a report and cite David with a Notice to Appear. The Notice to Appear gives him the date and time to appear before a Criminal Judge in Los Angeles County. The police officers do not take David into custody, and they do not take him to the police station for formal booking procedures. This is referred to as a Cite In case, because there was no formal arrest.