Hays County announces Cite and Divert program


Cameron Hubbard

A room in the Hays County Jail, Monday, March 11, 2019, in San Marcos.

Daniel Weeks, News Editor

Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler and District Attorney Wes Mau met with law enforcement heads of San Marcos, Kyle, Buda and Texas State July 8, agreeing to implement a Cite and Divert program to give officers an additional option when dealing with criminal cases. The program is anticipated to launch Sept. 1.

The new Cite and Divert program adds an additional diversion option to the cite-and-release program, giving individuals who qualify a chance to avoid having a criminal offense filed in court and becoming a part of a criminal record.

Instead of meeting with a magistrate, qualifying individuals will have the opportunity to meet with a prosecutor from the Criminal District Attorney’s Office who may determine the appropriate course of diversion.

Once the individual satisfies the requirements determined by the prosecutor, their record remains clear of any offense, unlike the cite-and-release program, where a citation is given to individuals with a notice to appear at the jail on a later date. The offense is still documented and added to an individual’s record during this process.

“Diversion” can include educational courses, community service or paying restitution. Low-level misdemeanor cases will be eligible for diversion. Misdemeanor offenses include, but are not limited to, marijuana possession, misdemeanor theft, driving with an invalid license and criminal mischief.

A press release from the Hays County Sheriff’s Office states “other misdemeanors could fall under this program.”

“This program will give the deputies another option in dealing with a criminal case,” Cutler said. “The deputy will now have the discretion to use Cite and Release or Cite and Divert but can always make an arrest if he/she deems it appropriate. I believe the program is of utmost importance because while it maintains the discretion of our officers, it will also aid us in our efforts to reduce the number of persons being brought to the jail for processing and housing.”

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