A clean slate
Operation Second Chance gives low-level offenders a do-over
This holiday season, the Mountain View Police Department and Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office are giving a gift to those on the naughty list. Through the end of December, a month-long program called Operation Second Chance will effectively give a do-over to people wanted for a non-violent, misdemeanor criminal offense or an outstanding traffic violation.
The forgiveness program is only available to those wanted for non-violent misdemeanor and for those who have unresolved traffic violations, such as a speeding ticket, according to a press release from the MVPD. The program is "directed towards most misdemeanor warrants, no matter what the bail is, including those warrants stamped 'No Cite and Release,' and 'No Bail.'"
Those that qualify have the entire month of December to appear at any local police or sheriff's station and explain who they are. Those with warrants that meet the Operation Second Chance specifications will not be arrested or detained. Instead, they will be issued a new citation and court date.
Those wanted for a felony or a violent crime are not eligible for Operation Second Chance. "Persons with these types of warrants, however, are urged to take this opportunity to turn themselves in so they can take care of their matter in court," according to the police.
Now in its eighth year, the forgiveness program has proven "tremendously successful" in convincing low-level offenders to self-surrender, the press release said. More than 2,400 people have taken advantage of the program over the past seven years.
"We think it's good," said Sgt. Sean Thompson, public information officer for the MVPD. "It gives people a second chance to clear up their minor warrants without going to jail."
Thompson said that information on whether an offense is a misdemeanor or a felony can be found on official documents, such as the original warrant or letters received from the court. Examples of non-violent misdemeanors are possession of a small amount of marijuana or petty theft, Thompson said. An unresolved traffic violation can be anything from a parking ticket to a speeding ticket.
Mountain View Police Department will accept self-surrenders Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Anyone with questions related to the program may contact the Sheriff's Office Records department by calling 408-808-4717.