If you were caught carrying weed in Austin within the last year or two, you may have noticed that you got to walk away with a citation instead of going directly to jail. The recent trend of not booking everyone who commits a minor crime in Travis County seems to have caught on, with groups of folks showing up as directed to JP5, and then later to the booking desk, personal bonds in hand. These folks are going home after a minor, pre-planned appointment with the laws. I am republishing a post made back during the time this was still a fresh issue, because there seems to be a lot of curiosity about the process. Incidentally, in Vermont, where I used to practice, almost every suspect was cited to come to court at a later time, even on many felonies. They would then be arraigned and given their conditions of release, or occasionally incarcerated. In any case, very efficient use of limited police personnel who can stay on the street protecting the public. I'd be interested to know anyone's feelings about this- do we really need to take everyone to jail, for every ol' thing?? Apologies in advance for rehashing an old topic.
Many people never expect to have any dealings with the police. In reality, there are a host of charges that can result in someone being taken to jail by surprise. It is actually quite easy to get arrested, and not always because you meant to break the law. Sometimes it's a check you wrote five years ago that bounced, but you moved and never received the notice to pay, and now it's an arrest warrant. Sometimes it's driving after your license has expired and you don't realize it. Either way, it's good to understand the process so you can try to get a jail release as quickly as possible.