LA to cut small-time criminals some slack

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

If you drive without a license or use a fake ID to buy alcohol, you'll no longer face a criminal charge in Los Angeles.

An internal LAPD memo dated July 25 that was sent to commanding officers detailed 91 violations that are now considered infractions instead of misdemeanors.

That means the violations won't appear in U.S. Department of Justice criminal records, and they no longer figure into department crime statistics tracking misdemeanors and felonies.

The memo was sent out in response to the city attorney's office revised filing guidelines in May.

City attorney spokesman Rob Wilcox says the change is an effort to make the system more efficient and save taxpayer dollars. He says such offenses were usually downgraded to infractions upon review anyway.

With contributions by Associated Press reporter Tami Abdollah

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