How Long Does It Take To Get a Citation in the Mail?

logo by Editorial Staff | Posted on February 7th, 2023

Are you wondering how long it will take for your citation to arrive in the mail? Are you unsure how long it takes from the time you commit a traffic violation or other offense until the citation is issued?

If so, then this blog post is for you! This article will cover all your questions about citations and how long they take to arrive.

What exactly did I do wrong?

What is a Citation?

A citation is a written notice issued by law enforcement that indicates that a person has been suspected of committing a crime. It serves as a summons to appear in court and is used to inform the accused of their rights and the charges against them.

Citations are generally issued for minor offenses, ranging from traffic violations to petty theft and disorderly conduct. The citation will typically include the court appearance’s date, time, location, and details regarding the alleged offense. If an individual fails to appear in court, they may be subject to additional penalties.

How Long Does it Take for a Citation to Arrive in the Mail?

Generally, it takes four to eight weeks for a citation to arrive in the mail. However, this can vary depending on a few factors. It must be received within four days if you choose to mail it. If you don’t receive your citation within eight weeks, it’s best to contact the court and ask about its status. There are alternatives to receiving a citation in the mail, such as checking online or in person at your local court for information about your case.

Factors that Affect the Time it Takes to Receive a Citation

Several factors can affect the time it takes to receive a citation in the mail.

Distance from the Police Department

Generally, if you are closer to the police department, you can expect to receive your citation much faster than if you were located further away. This is because the longer the distance, the more time it takes for the citation to be sent from the police department to your address.

Additionally, if the roads between your location and the police department are congested or busy, it could add even more time before receiving your citation. A

Citation processing speed at the Police Department

The speed of processing a citation at the police department can also affect how long it takes to receive a citation in the mail. When a citation is issued, the officer must enter the information into the system and then upload it to be sent to court.

Depending on the size and resources of the police department, this process can range from being completed within a few hours to taking several days. Additionally, if the police department has multiple officers issuing citations at once, this can further slow down processing times.

Postal Service Delivery Time

Once the police department has processed the citation, it is sent to the recipient via the Postal Service. The time it takes for a citation to arrive via mail will depend on the distance from the issuing police department and the delivery speed of the Postal Service. Generally speaking, a first-class package should arrive within three days of being sent. However, during peak seasons such as Christmas, higher mail volumes may take longer for a citation to arrive. It is important to note that USPS usually delivers mail between 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, regardless of which delivery service you use.

What Happens if I Don’t Receive a Citation?

If you don’t receive your citation in the mail, it’s important to take action. Depending on the situation, failure to appear in court could lead to a warrant for your arrest. Once the citation is entered into the court system, usually four to eight weeks after it is issued, you will receive a courtesy notice that includes a court date and time.

If you fail to appear on your scheduled date and time, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Additionally, you may be charged with an additional offense for failing to appear. To avoid these risks, it is important to confirm that you have received your citation in the mail or to make alternative arrangements with the court.

Alternatives to Receiving a Citation in the Mail

There are several alternatives if you don’t want to wait for the citation to arrive in the mail. You can go in person to the police department that issued the citation and ask for a copy. You may also be able to receive a copy of the citation through e-mail if an e-mail address is provided.

Additionally, you can contact the Clerk of Superior Court’s office for assistance if you have lost your traffic ticket (summons) or do not know the Court’s address. Once you have received a copy, you can begin addressing your citation by signing and mailing a waiver or appearing in court.

How to Check if You Have Received a Citation

Once you have waited sufficient time for your citation to arrive in the mail, you should check to see if you have received it. The best way to do this is to contact the court or police department that issued the citation.

To access the records, you may need to provide personal information such as your name, address, and date of birth. You can also check with your local post office to see if they have received the citation and if it is being held for you.

If you can’t find it in either place, contact the court or police department that issued the citation to see if they can provide you with more information.

When to Contact the Court About Your Citation

It is important to contact the court if you have not received a courtesy notice 45-60 days after your citation was issued. The notice will usually arrive within 4-8 weeks of the law enforcement officer filing the citation.

Additionally, it may take up to two business days for the citation to be processed and entered into the court clerk’s system. If you don’t receive a courtesy notice by the date written on your citation, you are still responsible for taking action before that date.

Contacting the court is a good way to ensure that your citation has been received and that you know when and where to appear.


In conclusion, the length of time it takes to receive a citation in the mail can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the distance from the police department, the processing speed at the police department, and postal service delivery times.

If you do not receive your citation in the mail, you should contact the court as soon as possible so that they can take the necessary steps to ensure your case is handled properly.

Alternatives to receiving a citation in the mail are also available, such as online tracking your citation or requesting an electronic copy from the court. Additionally, you can check whether or not you have received a citation by checking with local law enforcement or by contacting your local court.

Once you have received your citation, it is important to respond within 10 days so your case can be resolved promptly.


Editorial Staff

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