Criminal cases start either by law-enforcement issuing a notice to appear citation where by the accused is given a date to appear before the court or by physical arrest.
A notice to appear citation is considered an arrest and may be issued in any crime which is a misdemeanor of the second or third degree and for any violation of a county or municipal ordinance triable in a county court unless one of the following occurs:
- The accused fails to sufficiently identify him or herself or supply the required information;
- The accused refuses to sign the citation;
- The arresting officer has reason to believe the accused's continued freedom will be a danger to him or herself or others;
- The accused has no ties to the community;
- The accused is wanted in another jurisdiction;
- The accused has previously failed to appear or has previously violated a pretrial release program.