In Dallas, possessing 4-ounces of marijuana or less will become a “cite and release” procedure starting December 1. If no other charges are applicable, fingerprinting and a citation will be issued. Those cited are required to appear in front of Criminal Court Judge Nancy Mulder.
Judge Mulder is the chair of the committee overseeing the cite and release program, according WFAA 8 News. When in court, a second fingerprinting process will take place, simply to ensure it’s the same person cited. Mugshots are also a part of the process.
Judge Mulder said, “I do want to be very clear possession of marijuana is still a class A or B misdemeanor offense. This is not a ticket. It’s still a criminal offense for which you can go to jail.”
Judge Mulder doesn’t believe that having a small amount of marijuana should ruin someone’s livelihood.
Judge Mulder said, “Nobody should be smoking it, but the fact is people do. We don’t want to make people lose their jobs, have to pay $300 or $400 to get their cars to get their cars out of the impound, risk losing their apartments and everything else.”
The judge noted that between 30 and 35 marijuana possession cases eligible for the new program are filed in Dallas monthly.
A decade ago the state legislature passed a law that allows police officers to cite and release offenders for certain misdemeanor charges. This included marijuana possession. Austin and Houston are two of the several cities that have implemented these cite and release programs.
Dallas city council finally gave approval for the cite and release program last week. Judge Mulder hopes that more cities in Dallas County adopt the program. The good news is, those arrested in cities not part of the program still have to go to jail, however, no bond will have to be paid for release providing no other charges are pending.