Non-Jailable Misdemeanors: The Unfinished Business of the Sandra Bland Act of 2017
In Texas, Class C misdemeanors are the lowest-level criminal offense. While the punishment for these offenses does not include a single day of jail time, in Texas, officers can arrest, transport, book into jail, and place a bail bond on any individual who is accused of any criminal or civil offense—wasting valuable law enforcement time and costing taxpayers millions of dollars for individuals who pose little to no risk to public safety.
- Arrests for non-jailable Class C misdemeanors create a perverse situation in which those found guilty of the crime may face less punishment than those still presumed to be innocent.
- The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement reports tens of thousands of arrests for Class C misdemeanors in Texas each year.
- Texas spent over $21 million from 2016 to 2020 on jailing individuals who were accused of Class C traffic offenses.
- A prohibition against arrests in these cases would decrease needless spending and enable law enforcement to increase its focus on serious, violent offenses that threaten public safety.