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County To Try 'Cite And Release' Program For Some Misdemeanor Offenses

Public Domain

The Bexar County District Attorney and Sheriff's offices are working with the San Antonio Police Department to implement a method known as "cite and release" for select misdemeanors. 

Officers will soon be able to choose whether to issue a citation for those found in possession of marijuana up to 4 ounces, theft, criminal mischief, or driving with an invalid license. 

The cite and release option is more akin to how traffic violations like speeding tickets are handled, instead of requiring the officer to arrest and book every misdemeanor offender. 

Offenders can then take a class, pay a fine or perform community service in lieu of jail time. If followed correctly, low-level nonviolent offenders are able to maintain a clean record. 

With Bexar County jails at capacity, the program's goal is to save taxpayer dollars and encourage efficiency in local law enforcement by keeping police officers on the streets. Cite and release is already in place in Austin and Houston, and a similar initiative is being considered in Dallas.

How and when does local law enforcement plan to start the pilot program? What impact can cite and release have on public safety in the San Antonio area? 

Guest: Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood

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Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.