Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys are pleased that first time offenders may benefit from a new program being tested in Florida which would give nonviolent criminal offenders the opportunity to avoid an arrest record by abiding by the terms of a new civil citation program, as excerpted here:
The program aims to save taxpayer money by reducing costs associated with arrest and jail time. Also, the recipient of a civil citation pays for the cost of their treatment…
Leon County is the first county in Florida to give law enforcement officers the discretion to hand out adult civil citations…
Under the civil-citation program, the offender would have to undergo an assessment within 72 hours, perform 25 hours of community service, undergo treatment for any underlying issues that contributed to the offense, pay all costs to the program and face arrest if the conditions of the program are not met.
|Gogh, Self Portrait, 1887|
This program would go further to protect those making once in a lifetime mistakes than the current Pretrial Intervention Programs provided by State Attorney’s Offices in nonviolent drug cases and select misdemeanors and felonies in Florida.
While Pretrial Intervention Programs if successfully completed result in dismissal of filed charges, Civil Citation Programs are better in that no criminal charges are filed by the prosecution nor is there an arrest. Because there is no criminal record, there’s no longer any need for expungement or sealing of records nor should there be any problems with future employment opportunities which an arrest and criminal record would mar.
The catch? This is Florida, of course you knew there was a catch…you’ll need to plan to do your criminal act in Leon County, Florida as that’s the only county far sighted enough to launch the program. Tampa Bay will continue to rely only on Pretrial Intervention Programs until the results of the Civil Citation Program are tabulated, debated and eventually adopted.
Clearwater Criminal Lawyers would opt to give our Tampa Bay law enforcement officers discretion to handout Civil Citations now rather than waiting for the obvious beneficial results from Leon County, not only saving money, but saving the reputations, jobs and happiness of good folks who make one foolish mistake.