Am I being charged with a Misdemeanor?

Ok, so here’s the deal. Yesterday I was given a citation for leaving my dog in my car for about 15 minutes. The windows were cracked…and the officer told me at first that she wasn’t going to give me a ticket but after meeting her at my car handed me one, saying that I had a bad attitude.

Honestly, I was really shocked- thinking back now I don’t think I understood what she was telling me when she approached me. Anyhow, my dog is fine.

She didn’t explain the citation to me at all, just that it was a ticket that I couldn’t just pay and that I was going to have to go to court. I didn’t think too much about it until I did some research after getting home, realizing that I could possibly have been charged with a class A misdemeanor?

I have been trying to figure this out. She said absolutely nothing about me being charged with a crime, nor was I arrested or anything. I am terrified at this prospect as I am looking into finishing a master’s degree in the counseling field and knowing that this would be on my record absolutely terrifies me. I honestly did not think that my dog was in any harm, and did not realize that this was something could get charged with.

Does anyone know if I have indeed been charged with a crime? And what do I need to do? I will do anything to keep this from going on my record- fines, service, classes- anything. help!

Answer #1

Thanks for the responses. Generally, I never ever take my dog in my car with me unless we are going to a friend’s house or something where he will just be getting out and spending the entire time with me. The only reason I brought him is because I needed to get him a few things from Petco, which is store where dogs are allowed and he loves it! Afterwards I realized that I needed to pick up a picture frame, so I stopped at a nearby store which is where he was left in the car.

I honestly didn’t think I was being rude to the cop- I was just shocked at the situation. I have never even been pulled over and have never had to talk to a cop in my life, so didn’t really know how to respond. I simply said “ok” to everything she was telling me. Maybe I should have been more wordy? I don’t know. I also misunderstood her at first- I thought she was telling me that it was illegal to have your dog in your car without a person in it- period. And, obviously I see this all the time. So I was confused. I realize now that I probably should have said more to her, but I was freaked out and honestly didn’t understand what I was getting in trouble for.

The law related to this says if you “knowingly place an animal in a cruel or harmful situation.” The thing is, in my mind I was not doing so. I did knowingly leave him in the car, but had I known the situation could have been dangerous I never would have.

I have since researched this and will never EVER leave my dog in my car again. I love my dog and would never ever do anything to intentionally harm him. If I would have understood the risks, I would never have stopped at the second store in the first place.

By the way- I did not receive just “a ticket”. It is something that requires court appearance for, and it is checked at the bottom to include 1 criminal offense. Unfortunately it is an indictible offense and is something that I can not just pay off, though I wish it was. I would be wiling to pay any fine to keep a misdemeanor off my record.

Answer #2

I agree with Prannie, and don’t take your dog if you have to leave it in a car, have you never heard any of the nightmare stories with dogs, babies and enderly people left in cars, for just a few mintues and they die. Come on, you were in the wrong

Answer #3

Lol@ this…You recieved a ticket right? a citation? This is just what it is..a.citation.It is a non indictable offense and cannot be held against you in respect to employment issues. It can be used however as a character reference. However though I wouldnt be the least bit worried.

Answer #4

I do not know, but if is that important to you, SEE A LAWYER.

And be aware that the cop TOLD you why you got the ticket - your attitude. If you had been contrite and apologetic rather than defensive, you wouldn’t have this problem. The cop probably felt that you had not ‘learned a lesson’ about how FAST a pet can die in summer heat (as little as 5 minutes when extreme) and that leaving a window open an inch or two won’t prevent it from happening (although it may slow it down). Think about how bad you would have felt if your pet had died. And what you would have changed to have prevented it from happening.

I’m guessing that this will not stop your career path. Hopefully you can learn and put this behind you. And go on with your life. Talk to a lawyer, and Good Luck!!

Answer #5

If you have a clean record, and you tell the judge everything you said here, you’ll probably get just a fine, and a “talking to”…A dog can die in 15 to 30 minutes…windows cracked or not…even on a day when it’s only 50 degrees out. It all depends on how hot the car gets in the sun, and how rapidly the dog can pant to cool himself…it’s fine line…and not worth the risk. Hot days, leave your dog at home…

I’m certain that this was just a mistake, I can tell by all that you wrote…A judge will probably see it the same way…a mistake that you won’t soon repeat…


Answer #6

I would say that the reason for the ticket would be crulty to an animal even if it was only a few minutes, with the window cracked because the dog could have suficated in your car, it is to hot to leave any animal for any amount of time. this you will more then likly get a fine set by a judge when you go to court.

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