What is Cite and Release?
State lawmakers over wittingly enacted House Bill 2391 in 2007 which offers police the choice, instead of taking someone to jail they may issue a citation to offenders nabbed for seven misdemeanor crimes, including Class A and B Possession of Marijuana, Graffiti, Theft of Service, Driving While License Invalid, Criminal Mischief, or Theft and Contraband in a Correctional Facility.
The citation option doesn't change the charge or the possibility of eventual conviction and sentencing to jail time (up to six months for class B and up to a year for class A). But it does eliminate pre-conviction arrest and jail time – a strategy intended to cut costs directly associated with the booking process, as well as manpower costs, leaving more officers on the streets at any given time.
Under the law, only those who are arrested and have proper identification, have committed the offense in the county in which they live, and are not also facing more serious criminal charges are eligible for cite-and-release.
However the police officer still retains the discretion to arrest for any of the listed offenses.
• Possession of marijuana, up to 4 ounces
• Criminal mischief, where damage is up to $500
• Graffiti, where pecuniary loss is up to $500
• Theft, up to $500
• Theft of service, up to $500
• Providing contraband to a person in jail
• Driving with an invalid license