SAN ANTONIO - Bexar County launched its cite and release pilot program on Wednesday.
Under this policy, people charged with certain misdemeanors, like possession of a small amount of marijuana, could end up doing community service instead of heading to jail.
District Attorney Nico LaHood said the Bexar County Sheriff's Office will be the first law enforcement agency to start the program locally. He said it will benefit both officers and low-level, non-violent, misdemeanor adult offenders.
Under an officer's discretion, the certain offenses could be treated like traffic ticket. Instead of jail time, the person would attend education classes and do community service.
Applicable offenses include possession of less than 4 ounces of marijuana, criminal mischief, theft and property damage under $750, and driving with and invalid license. Synthetic marijuana and graffiti offenses will not be acceptable.
"The most obvious benefit to the defendant or citizen accused is having a clear criminal record since the arrest and the charge will not appear in a criminal history search. If someone completes this program, their case is never even filed," said LaHood.
In order to be eligible for cite and release, a person must live in Bexar County and have no active warrants, pending charges, be out on bond, probation or parole.
All local law enforcement agencies, except Olmos Park, say they are on board with the program.