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Lawmakers push Civil Citations

January 24th, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

Last year, 0nearly 20 thousand teens were stopped for misdemeanor violations, just fewer than half got civil citations, which means no record at all if the teen completes community service and other sanctions. But the rate caries from county to county. In Pinellas cCounty, 96 percent get a citation, while across the bridge in Hillsborough County, just 34 percent are diverted. Legislation would make citations mandatory for first time offenders. Sponsor Sen. Anitere Flores says it is a matter of fairness.
“Many times we talk about justice being blind. Unfortunately in many of these situations, not only is justice not blind but it is not fair across the state, and what we want to do is bring fairness to this issue” says Flores.

Police agencies are balking at the idea of being told they must issue a civil citation, saying they want discretion on the street. But House Co Sponsor Larry Ahern of St. Pete says the citations save money.

“Civil citations save our state money. We save 4,500 for each child who receives a civil citation rather an an arrest.  Our state could have saved 45 million dollars last year if all eligible children received a civil citation” says Ahern.

Sponsors say studies have also shown that whites get civil citations more often than blacks and hispanics in some counties. the Legislation cleared its first Senate committee this week.

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