Is it lawful for a police officer to issue 3 citations based on a witness statement, without seeing the incident?
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Technically it would depend on what type of crime you were charged with. But in general you can be charged with a crime solely on the basis of witness statements. In many crimes the police/prosecution rely heavily on the statements of witnesses in order to charge a person with a crime. If the citations are solely based on witness statements and there is no independent evidence, then that witness will have to appear and testify at trial in order for you to be convicted of the charges.