In June 2021, some Tarrant County police agencies announced a new policy. People detained for some misdemeanor crimes, including low-level marijuana arrests, will be ticketed instead of taken to jail. The new program is called Cite and Release.
Instead of an immediate arrest, the person will receive a citation. Later, they will receive notice to appear before a county magistrate. When the person appears in court, law enforcement can file a case with the DA’s office and the DA can decide whether to prosecute them.
Not getting arrested and spending time in jail certainly sounds good, but this isn’t a big difference. Just because you weren’t immediately arrested, that doesn’t mean you won’t face criminal charges later. Call a Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer to find out how the change in marijuana arrests and prosecution could affect your case.
Eligible Criminal Charges
People can be cited and released – and charged later – if they would have been charged with:
- Possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana
- Possession of 2-4 ounces of marijuana
- Possession of less than 2 ounces of synthetic cannabinoids (“spice” or K2, for example)
- Possession of 2-4 ounces or less of synthetic cannabinoids
- Criminal mischief that results in damages between $100-$750
- Graffiti damage between $100-$2,500
- Theft of property valued at between $100-$750
This change follows on a policy change in 2020 where the Tarrant County District Attorney said some people charged with possession of small amounts of certain drugs, including marijuana, can get those charges dismissed. Now that’s a much more meaningful change for people charged with low-level drug crimes like possession of marijuana.
Who Would Get Cited Instead of Arrested?
Police get to decide who they Cite and Release.
To even be eligible for Cite and Release, the “offender” must be an adult who lives in Tarrant County and committed the alleged offense in Tarrant County. They have to be able to prove their identity. And they can’t have any outstanding warrants for a Class B misdemeanor or higher. It can only be used for non-violent, low-level offenses.
If you received a citation for a drug offense, theft, graffiti or criminal mischief, call the Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys at Lee and Wood, LP, before you appear before a court magistrate. Call 817-678-6771 or contact us online. You still face criminal charges. Know your rights.