These low-level offenses will now be a part of the city of Houston’s new cite-and-release program, mayor says

HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner signed an Executive Order Monday authorizing a cite-and-release program for certain low-level, non-violent offenses, allowing officers to issue tickets for some Class A and B misdemeanors, instead of making an arrest.

The policy change will go into effect Tuesday at 6 a.m.

“The cite-and-release program has been implemented in other cities where it has helped to reduce jail population,” Turner said in a press conference Monday. He added that the move would “improve response times by getting officers back into service, more quickly.”

“Cite-and-release is a more humane method of dealing with low-level offenders because the program gives them an opportunity to make changes in their lives and face responsibility for their actions without having the stain of an arrest or jail time on their record,” Turner continued.

The City of Houston will adopt a program implemented by Harris County in February.

The following Class A and B misdemeanors are eligible for tickets instead of jail time:

  • Possession of a controlled substance, if the controlled substance is four ounces or less
  • Criminal Mischief, if the amount of pecuniary loss is $100 or more but less than $750
  • Graffiti, if the amount of pecuniary loss is $100 or more but less than $2500
  • Theft, if the value of the property stolen is $100 or more but less than $750
  • Theft of Service, if the value of the service stolen is $100 or more but less than $750
  • Contraband in a Correctional Facility, if the offense is a Class B misdemeanor
  • Driving with an invalid license

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