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Dallas joins no-jail cite and release policy on small marijuana busts

Dallas joins no-jail cite and release policy on small marijuana busts

As long as that joint is four ounces or less, no jail for you. Photo courtesy of Possibilities

Dallas' approach to marijuana changes on December 1, when a new "cite and release" program goes into effect.

The Dallas City Council approved the creation and implementation of a cite and release program in April 2017. The program allows officers to document the offense, then return to more important patrolling duties, such as protecting the citizens of Dallas.

Marijuana possession will still be illegal in the city of Dallas and in the state of Texas. The change is in how authorities respond.

Those found with small amounts of marijuana — four ounces or less — will be given a citation but not sent to jail. In order to be eligible for cite and release, you must have the following provisions:

  • Possess four ounces of marijuana or less
  • Reside in the Dallas County portion of the city of Dallas and be detained in the same area
  • Have a valid Texas-issued ID or driver's license

The charges are as follows: A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or 180 days in jail. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine up to $4,000 and/or up to one year in jail.

This is not a simple Class C citation or traffic ticket. But it keeps you from having to go to jail.

If you do get detained for possession of marijuana, a Class A or B misdemeanor offense, your weed will be confiscated, then you'll be cited, fingerprinted, handed the Dallas County Acknowledgement & Acceptance Form, and assigned a court date at the Frank Crowley Courts Building, at 133 N. Riverfront Blvd.

If you don't show up for your court date, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Other than not being arrested, your charge will be handled as usual by the District Attorney's office.

Marijuana possession is a misdemeanor criminal charge in Texas. You'll be fingerprinted and a mug shot will be taken. Your mug shot will be searchable online. For those found guilty of possessing four ounces or less, penalties can run from 180 days to one year in jail, and a fine of $2,000 to $4,000.

Dallas joins cities such as Austin and Houston who already have cite and release programs. And things are looking up: Medical marijuana will be available in Texas by the end of the year.