515 – Cite and Release

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I. Policy

This policy establishes procedures for the use of the Cite and Release (CAR) Program to release nonviolent misdemeanor offenders from custodial arrest in an efficient manner.

II. Purpose

Texas Code of Criminal Procedures Article 14.06 permits law enforcement agencies to use citation release procedures in lieu of arrest for eligible Class A or B misdemeanor offenses.

This policy does not apply to persons under the age of 17, intoxicated persons, violent crimes, or traffic violations.

Deputies shall select the least intrusive/severe method of enforcement when considering issuing a citation in lieu of arrest.

If a deputy exercises discretion not to Cite & Release a qualified suspect, the deputy must obtain supervisor approval and notate the reason in the law enforcement report as well as the supervisor’s name who provided the authorization to book the suspect.

III. Legal References

Health and Safety Code Section 481.121, subsection (b) (1) or (2).

Health and Safety Code Section 481.1161, subsection (b) (1) or (2).

Penal Code 28.03, subsection (b) (2) – Criminal Mischief.

Penal Code 28.08, subsection (b) (2) or (3) – Graffiti.

Penal Code 31.03, subsection (e) (2) (A) – Theft.

Penal Code 38.114 – Contraband in a Correctional Facility.

Transportation Code 521.457 – Driving While License Invalid.

IV. Cite & Release Eligibility and Disqualifying Criteria

A. The following offenses are eligible for the Cite & Release Citation;

1. Possession of certain drugs:

a. Possession of Marijuana less than two (2) ounces – Class B.

b. Possession of Marijuana two (2) ounces, but less than four (4) ounces – Class A.

c. Possession of Controlled Substance in Penalty Group 2-A, two (2) ounces or less – Class B.

d. Possession of Controlled Substance in Penalty Group 2-A, four (4) ounces or less but greater than two (2) ounces – Class A.

2. Criminal Mischief $100 < $750 – Class B.

3. Graffiti, $100 < $750 – Class B.

4. Theft $100 < $750 – Class B.

5. Theft of Service $100 < $750 – Class B.

6. Contraband in a Correctional Facility – Class B.

7. Driving While License Invalid – Class B.

B. In addition to the above considerations, deputies must verify the violator is;

1. 17 years of age or older.

2. Resides in Harris County.

3. Identified by a state issued photo identification or other reasonable means to identify the violator.

C. Circumstances disqualifying the violator from Cite & Release;

1. The violator could not provide a satisfying identification.

2. Violator is a juvenile.

3. Violator demands an immediate appearance before a magistrate.

4. Violator is arrested on a warrant or has outstanding warrants.

5. The safety of the violator or others may be jeopardized by the release of the violator.

6. Violator is injured and has not received appropriate medical attention.

7. Force was used (Use of Force) to affect the arrest.

8. Violator is not a resident of Harris County.

9. Violator refuses to sign the Cite & Release Citation.

10. If arrested for other Class B and above (non-CAR eligible) charges.

11. There is reason to believe the suspect would not appear in court. The basis for this determination shall be specifically stated in the offense report (e. g. suspect has a history of capias pro fines and/ or bond forfeiture).

12. If Driving While License Invalid and suspect is the at fault driver in a crash.

13. If charges are enhanced after discussion with the ADA at Intake.

14. Violator is on parole for any crime.

V. Procedures

A. Issuing of Cite & Release Citation

1. Identify the violator by using a government issued photo identification. If a photo identification is not available, the deputy shall use all reasonable available means to confirm the validity of the personal information provided by the violator in custody and shall document what source of identification was used to establish the identity of the violator.

2. Run a criminal history check to determine if the violator is free of warrants and is an adult, seventeen years of age or older.

3. Contact the District Attorney’s Office Intake Division to confirm probable cause and to determine if the offender is currently eligible for Cite and Release. If the Intake prosecutor states the violator is NOT eligible for the Cite & Release, the deputy shall arrest the offender.

4. Offer the offender an opportunity to participate; if the offender is eligible and if the offender agrees, issue citation using the Cite & Release citation.

5. If the offender wishes to participate, the deputy shall:

a. Complete all sections of the Misdemeanor Cite & Release Citation, listing only one (1) charge per citation.

b. Explain that by signing the citation, the offender promises to appear for their court setting.

c. Set the arraignment date for the third Wednesday after the date of issue for the Harris County Court.

i. When calculating the date for the violator to appear be mindful of upcoming Harris County holidays.

6. Release the violator on his own recognizance upon issuance of the citation, advising the violator that the required signature is not an admission of guilt but a promise to appear in court.

7.  Scan the signed copy of the Cite & Release Citation and email it to  [email protected]

Scans shall be created as portable document files (PDF.) and must be 8.5 by 11 inches.

The email subject line shall contain the DIMS transaction number, HCSO Case number and the Cite and Release Citation number. 

B. Completion of DIMS, Law Enforcement, and Arrest Report

1. Deputy will complete a DIMS transaction using the JWEB system.

2. Complete the Superion Law Enforcement and Arrest report. The report will include the following:

a. Citation Number.

b. DIMS transaction number.

c. Evidentiary photographs.

d. If BWC video is available.

e. How the violator was identified.

f. Assistant District Attorneys name from DA Intake, and

g. Attach a scan of the citation to the e-files section of the Law Enforcement report.


This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

August 7, 2020

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