Apart from the obvious – being physically arrested and taken to jail vs. being given a legal document with information regarding a court date, there are not very many functional differences between the two in Destin, Fort Walton Beach and the rest of Okaloosa County.
They both serve the same legal purpose, that is, to start a criminal proceeding against an individual. Once the arrest or notice to appear (also known as a criminal summons) is processed through the police department and the clerk of court, the case will be assigned a number and remain in the court database.
Typically, we see Notices to Appear issued quite often during the Spring Break season in March and April – and the police target Fort Walton Beach, Destin and other areas of Okaloosa County heavily.
They are given to those charged with Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) or Possession of Alcohol by Person under/less than 21 years of age.
By using the Notice to Appear, law enforcement officers targeting Spring Break crowds can move from group to group without the interruption of a physical arrest. This allows police officers to issue hundreds more criminal citations for Minor in Possession of alcohol than they otherwise would.
Contact Attorney Shawn Lupella at (850) 362-6655 for a free consultation to discuss your options.