Bexar County District Attorney supports cite and release for low level offenders

Nico LaHood believes ticketing suspects could get officers back on patrol faster

By Myra Arthur - Anchor/Reporter

BEXAR COUNTY - District Attorney Nico LaHood touted the benefits Monday of ticketing suspects accused of low-level crimes rather than arresting them.

“The premise behind cite and release is to give an officer- law enforcement- discretion to give a citation to a low-level nonviolent offender and have them show up to court at a later date,” LaHood said.

LaHood argues a cite-and-release would get police officers and deputies back on patrol faster instead of forcing them to spend potentially hours processing a suspect to book them in jail.

The practice of cite and release can apply in cases of nonviolent misdemeanors.

“The lowest level possession of marijuana, the lowest level theft, criminal mischief,” LaHood said.

If an officer finds, while investigating a low-level offense, that the suspect is wanted for another more serious crime, LaHood says they should be arrested.

The Bexar County Sheriff's Office believes cite and release would have little impact on the number of inmates at the jail. 

“We don’t typically see people who are busted for a small amount of marijuana who are arrested and stay in the jail. Its a very small percentage,” said James Keith, BCSO spokesman.

Cite and release is not imminent for Bexar County.

LaHood says he needs to consult with local law enforcement agencies to see if they support the practice and then determine whether it’s something the Bexar County court system can handle.

"I would like to give law enforcement officers another tool to use in their discretion,” LaHood said.

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