The Texas Attorney General has provided guidance on the proper use of the pretrial intervention program fund. Attorney General Opinion KP-0263 (2019) determined that the Commissioners Court must “ultimately decide how to expend the pretrial intervention program special fund.”
Article 102.0121 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that a prosecutor may “collect a fee in an amount not to exceed $500 to be used to reimburse a county for expenses, including expenses of the district attorney’s, criminal district attorney’s, or county attorney’s office related to a defendant’s participation in a pretrial intervention program offered in that county.” Fees are deposited in the county treasury to be used solely to administer the pretrial intervention program. “An expenditure from the fund may be made only in accordance with a budget approved by the Commissioners Court.”
The Attorney General noted that “the time and labor of the attorneys and staff of the prosecutor’s office likely represent a substantial component of the county resources expended to administer a pretrial intervention program. Thus, a court would likely conclude that compensation of the employees who administer the program is a use of the pretrial intervention fund ‘to administer the pretrial intervention program.’ Accordingly, article 102.0121 authorizes the Commissioners Court to use the pretrial intervention fund for an employee’s salary, salary supplement, or benefit only to the extent such use of the fund is solely for the administration of the program.”
In summary, the Commissioners Court, not the prosecuting attorney, ultimately determines the authorized uses of the county pretrial intervention fund. The Commissioners Court may use the fund for the employee’s salary, salary supplements, or a benefit only to the extent the use of the fund is solely for the administration of the program.
For additional information, please call me at 1-800-733-0699.