02 Jul Controversy Over Bexar County Rejecting Low-Level Drug Cases
Bexar County District Attorney, Joe Gonzales, announced recently that the D.A.’s Office will no longer prosecute people for low-level drug cases, including marijuana, opioids, heroin, cocaine when the amount is less than .25 grams. This new policy has raised controversy with law enforcement officers that feel it undermines their police work by invalidating their arrests and preventing them from getting suspects to divulge information in other cases to avoid prosecution in their own.
On the Defense side, the D.A’s new low-level drug case policy is also causing controversy because the out-right dismissals are causing defendant’s to have to wait potentially 2 to 3 years to obtain an expunction (get it wiped off their records). Under the old policy, first-time offenders could participate in a pretrial diversion program that allowed them to expedite their path to a clean record (often allowing them to complete everything within one year). The time differential becomes extremely important for professionals and others who find themselves having to re-certify to keep their jobs and careers in tack and can’t afford to wait 2-3 years to apply for a clean record. The D.A.’s Office has the legal ability to authorize an earlier expunction, but it remains to be seen if the D.A’s Office will take this path yet.