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Relating to a limitation on the authority to arrest a person for certain misdemeanors punishable by fine only.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 2754 would require each law enforcement agency to adopt by January 1, 2020, a written policy regarding the issuance of citation for fine-only misdemeanor offenses, including traffic offenses. The policy must: (1) provide a procedure for a peace officer to verify the person's identity and issue a citation; (2) comply with certain procedures for an arrest without a warrant and providing notice to appear; and (3) ensure judicial efficiency, law enforcement efficiency and effectiveness, and community safety.
A peace officer would be prohibited from, without a warrant, arresting an offender who commits only one or more offenses punishable by a fine only (other than public intoxication, a certain assault offense, or an offense under the Alcoholic Beverage Code provisions relating to a minor) unless the officer has probable cause to believe that the: (1) failure to arrest the offender creates a clear and immediate danger to the offender or the public; (2) failure to arrest the offender will allow a continued breach of the public peace; or (3) offender will not appear in court.
Texas Action supports HB 2754 as it advances the principles of limited government and individual liberty. Arresting and incarcerating an individual for a fine-only, Class C misdemeanor is a completely unnecessary deprivation of an individuals' freedom, incurs a significant cost to Texas taxpayers, and is disproportionate to the crime. We strongly support this bill.