Orange County and Orlando police will begin enforcing a new program to help divert first-time offenders from jail into a new Adult Civil Citation program.
The new program was announced this week through a collaboration of multiple law enforcement officials: State Attorney Monique H. Worrell, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, Sheriff John Mina of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Chief Jose Velez of the Orlando Police Department and Deputy Chief Betty Holland of the Kissimmee Police Department.
The Adult Civil Citation program is designed to divert people charged with first-time misdemeanor offenses away from the criminal legal system. As part of the program, participating law enforcement agencies may use their discretion to issue civil citations for certain misdemeanor offenses in lieu of making a physical arrest or issuing a notice for a person to appear in court.
“Acknowledging the traumatic impact that incarceration has on individuals, this program serves as a mechanism to ensure that individuals are incarcerated only when absolutely necessary to ensure public safety,” said State Attorney Worrell.
Worrell believes the program will allow “the accused to keep their humanity and dignity,” while decreasing the potential for “a negative interaction with law enforcement.”
Individuals who participate in the program will be required to pay a fee, participate in educational programs that may be specific to the offense, and complete community service.
Once completed, a certificate will be issued, no criminal charges will be filed, and the case will be dismissed.
First-time, misdemeanor offenses for which someone may receive an Adult Civil Citation may include: possession of drug paraphernalia; possession of marijuana under 20 grams; misdemeanor assault; misdemeanor battery; retail theft of a shopping cart; trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance; petit theft; criminal mischief; disorderly conduct; littering; loitering; possession of alcoholic beverages by a person under the age of 21; and other misdemeanor offenses that may be deemed appropriate at the discretion of participating law enforcement agencies and the State Attorney’s Office.
In certain instances, victims (if applicable) must agree with the issuance of the Adult Civil Citation.