AUSTIN, Texas — The district attorney for one of the largest counties in Texas is introducing new drug-prosecution protocols that are expected to increase the number of case dismissals and referrals to diversion programs.

  • DA considering consider new criteria for handling drug cases
  • DA will not prosecute certain drug cases
  • Officials are struggling with drug-testing backlogs

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore has already instructed crime labs to stop testing trace amounts of substances because her office will not prosecute those cases.

Moore told the Austin American-Statesman that it's a "resource issue all the way across the board." For instance, crime labs for Austin police and the Texas Department of Public Safety have struggled with drug-testing backlogs.

She says her office in the coming weeks also will consider new criteria for handling cases that involve less than a gram of a drug, an amount equivalent to a packet of sugar.

Travis County each year handles about 3,000 felony drug possession cases involving less than a gram.