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Pre-Trial Program Will Dismiss Misdemeanors For Young Adults

Bexar County

A new diversion program in Bexar County will allow young adult offenders ages 17-21 a chance to correct one-time indiscretions that have gotten them into trouble.

District Attorney Susan Reed said the M.I.L.E.S. program -- Meaningful Intervention Leading to Enduring Success -- will protect young offenders from spending their lives paying for one mistake as they begin their military, college, or work careers.

"Do you remember all those kids that ran across the field at the first UTSA game and they charged a whole bunch of them for something stupid? I mean, there are those circumstances that arise where the kid isn't thinking," Reed said. 

Reed said the program is for misdemeanors only and is designed to get the offenders’ attention quickly -- they are required to apply to the program within 60 days of their criminal booking. It is a pre-trial program intended to provide supervision, restitution if there is any, plus court costs.

If they successfully do all those things, their case is dismissed.

"Without any conviction attached to it," Reed said. "There's no deferred adjudication, there's no probation, it is just pre-trial dismissed."

The M.I.L.E.S. program will not be used for DWI cases, but it could be used for small marijuana possession, theft, or other non-violent, misdemeanor-level cases.

Reed said she hopes the program will reduce what she says is a 35 percent recidivism rate among first-time misdemeanor offenders.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.