Published: Oct 31, 2012 1:01 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Tallahassee and surrounding Leon County will be the first Florida jurisdictions to adopt civil citations as an alternative to arresting adults for first offenses of minor, non-violent crimes.
The Florida Smart Justice Alliance, a coalition that promotes changes in the criminal justice system, joined local officials in announcing the plan Wednesday in Tallahassee.
As long as 17 years ago, Florida jurisdictions began using civil citations as alternatives to arresting juveniles, most commonly for marijuana possession and petty theft.
Alliance leaders are hoping adult citations also will spread across the state. Police will have the discretion to decide on a case-by-case basis who gets a citation and who gets arrested.
Those cited must perform community service and get treatment for underlying causes such as substance abuse or anger.

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