by Sha'de Ray | Wed, April 26th 2023, 5:36 PM CDT
PENSACOLA, Fla. -- A proposed program could give an opportunity for misdemeanor offenders to avoid jail time.
J.U.S.T. Pensacola has been working to establish the Adult Civil Citation Program with State Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden.
Madden tells WEAR News, this program is for first time offenders of non-violent misdemeanors.
"it holds an individual accountable without resulting in a criminal history that again in the future may prevent them from getting into a school, may prevent them from getting a job, may prevent them from entering the military, once those records are created sometimes it' can be really really hard to get out from under," Madden said.
Madden tells WEAR News, under this proposal law enforcement will have a choice between arresting someone for a non-violent misdemeanor or give them a civil citation instead.
The suspect will also have the option of accepting the citation or going to trial to face the charges.
If they take the citation option, they will have 90 days to complete certain conditions to avoid having an arrest record.
"It's not a way of avoiding reasonability for what they did, it's actually, they have to say yes I did this, I am responsible and I want to to make restitution," Reverend Dr. Rick Branch said.
Madden says these conditions will be on a case by case basis.
They can include a program fee, community service hours, and online courses.
If the conditions aren't met within the 90 days, criminal charges could be filed.
Hassan Hills is the founder of Youth Left Behind. He says this program would give people a second chance.
"You wouldn't have people serving time or still on probation or still got their driver license suspended because of a $200 traffic ticket or because of they weren't able to pay court costs if they were provided a opportunity by giving them a chance a second chance to be a productive citizen I think it's something people would gravitate towards and be forever grateful for," Hills said.
Madden says once finalized, she plans to start the program in Escambia County before moving into Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties.