Types of Enforcement


The University of Arizona Diversion Program is a voluntary educational program that defers the criminal process for certain misdemeanor citations when referrals are made by the University of Arizona Police Department (UAPD) or the Pima County Attorney's Office. Completion of the Diversion Program will result in the dismissal of the misdemeanor charges.

For more information about the UA Diversion Program please visit the Dean of Students Office site.


In some circumstances, an officer may elect to give a warning in lieu of the below listed actions.


There are three types of citations that can be issued depending on the offense:

  • Petty Offense Citation: A petty offense is a type of misdemeanor but is punishable with no jail and a maximum $300 fine.
  • Civil Citation: A civil citation is most commonly issued for violation of Arizona’s motor vehicle laws. This is not a criminal citation but still requires a court appearance. An individual who fails to appear in court can have additional administrative action taken by the court and Department of Motor Vehicles. Individuals are not required to sign a civil citation. The law enforcement officer may “serve” the citation by writing “served” on the citation and providing it to the individual.
  • Criminal Citation:  Under Arizona Revised Statutes, law enforcement officers may issue a citation for certain misdemeanor offenses, that can include some traffic offenses. When an officer issues a misdemeanor citation, the individual named on the citation has been “arrested” but may be released without going to jail. The individual issued a citation must sign the citation prior to being released.

By signing the citation, the individual is not admitting guilt, but is agreeing to appear in court at the designated time and location written on the citation. If the individual refuses to sign the citation, the officer will make a physical arrest and the individual will be taken to jail on the criminal charge.

Under Arizona law, not all misdemeanor offenses are eligible for “cite and release.” In these situations, law-enforcement officers must physically arrest and take individuals to jail.

Full Custody Arrest

A full custody arrest means the individual has been arrested and taken to jail. Individuals who commit a felony, domestic violence, or are arrested on an arrest warrant, among other crimes, are required to be taken to jail.

In some circumstances, as noted above, law enforcement officers may take a misdemeanor offender to jail instead of issuing a citation.

UAPD Practice

UAPD encourages officers to pursue alternatives to physical arrest, when appropriate for misdemeanor offenses. Alternatives may include the use of warnings, the UA Student Diversion program, and “cite and release.”

Non-students are ineligible for UA Diversion, and will be warned, cited, or physically arrested for criminal activity.