On Monday, September 30th, 2019, the Marion County Prosecutor’s office announced they will no longer prosecute simple marijuana cases. What does this mean for those caught in possession of cannabis in Indianapolis? Will they go to jail? Will they be let go? If they go to jail, will their bail be free if they are not prosecuted? Continue reading to learn how this change will affect jail and bail in Marion County.
Marion County Marijuana Arrests
The Marion County Prosecutor, Ryan Mears, declared his office will not prosecute minor marijuana offenses anymore. In his announcement, he stated, “Too often, an arrest for marijuana possession puts individuals into the system who otherwise would not be. That is not a win for our community. (…) The enforcement of marijuana policy has disproportionately impacted people of color, and this is a first step to addressing that. (…) Our priority is violent crime. (…) We are not going to mess around with these small possession of marijuana cases.”
However, there is something very important to know about this announcement. As it turns out, local law enforcement is not on the same page. In fact, the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police openly objected the Prosecutor’s decision, which was made clear in an official statement, ““(…) While we recognize and value prosecutorial discretion, our law enforcement officers have significant concerns anytime a single person elects to unilaterally not enforce a state law as a matter of practice or policy. We are attempting to better understand the basis for this decision and any potential unintended outcomes. In the interim, it is our understanding the IMPD Chief of Police has directed officers to continue to enforce the laws as proscribed by the State of Indiana and we strongly concur.”
So what does this mean? It means that although petty marijuana offenses will no longer be prosecuted in Marion County, those caught will still be arrested and taken to jail. If you are caught with marijuana, and as a result, arrested and taken to the Marion County jail, the standard proceedings for such arrests will take place. You will be booked, detained in custody, and have bail set for you.
Once your bail is set, you can contact a Marion County bail bondsman to get a release from jail. Your bail will not be set to $0 even though the Prosecutor’s office will no go through with the charges. But be happy that you only need to pay to get out of Marion County jail, and not court and attorney fees for your criminal charges!
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