A police officer would be able to issue a ticket instead of criminal charges for offenses like disorderly conduct, public drinking and littering under a bill endorsed last month by a legislative committee.
According to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Michael O. Moore, D-Millbury, state law already allows for the decriminalization of such offenses but only once a defendant appears in court. Moore’s bill would give police the option to issue a civil citation on eligible charges, allowing the offender to avoid court entirely by paying their fine.
Moore said the bill (S 1146) would let someone who committed a minor offense avoid the long-term consequences of having a criminal record, while also cutting court costs and providing flexibility for police departments with tight finances.
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