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'Cite and release' program approved in Dallas

Those caught with less than 4 ounces of marijuana in Dallas County may not necessarily be sent to jail. Instead, a new "cite and release" program will allow police to issue a summons. Having received approval from both the Dallas City Council and Dallas County, the program is scheduled to begin Dec. 1. One county commissioner voted against the program, and that was because he felt the program didn't go far enough.

He believed that it was not fair to those who may have been found with the substance within Dallas County but not in Dallas itself. The commissioner also felt that it would not do enough to help defendants. Supporters of this new initiative believe that it will allow the police to focus on those who commit violent crimes.

Individuals who are caught in possession of a controlled substance may be subject to a variety of penalties. In some cases, they may be taken into custody and sent to jail. However, being taken into custody or being charged with a crime such as drug possession does not imply that a person is guilty. It might be worthwhile to consult with an attorney who could create one or more defenses to the charge.

For instance, it could be possible to claim that an individual was not in possession of a controlled substance. It might also be possible to argue that the amount a person possessed was a small enough quantity to qualify as a lesser charge. This may enable an individual to pay a fine or do community service instead of spend time in jail.

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