Don’t Pay Those Old Tickets, Post a Bond Instead!
If you have a warrant at the City of Houston or any one of 180 other participating jurisdictions in Texas, you may be arrested during the upcoming Warrant Roundup. The Warrant Roundup typically begins in March each year. This year the Warrant Roundup will begin Monday, March 7, 2016. During the 2016 Warrant Roundup, the Houston Police Department and Harris County Constables will join with almost seventy other jurisdictions in this area to target people with outstanding warrants.
During the 2016 Warrant Round-up, which will begin in March, hundreds of Houstonians will be arrested by the Houston Police on outstanding warrants for old traffic tickets and other Class C Misdemeanors.
Though you can be arrested for an outstanding warrant at any time, most arrests on traffic warrants normally take place during subsequent traffic stops. But, during the Warrant Roundup, Houston police and other law enforcement agencies will actually come to your house, your school, or your place of employment to execute these outstanding warrants.
What is a warrant?
In simplest terms, a warrant is an order by a Judge to arrest someone. Usually it is an order to arrest someone for failing to appear for a Court date or for being late for a Court date.
Typically, most City of Houston warrants are issued for failure of a defendant to appear in Court on a traffic ticket or some other Class C Misdemeanor such as an ordinance violation.
If you received a ticket in a traffic stop and missed the arraignment date on your traffic ticket or were late for the arraignment, a City of Houston Judge will almost always issue a warrant for your arrest.
If you went to your arraignment and reset your case for a Judge or Jury trial, but did not go to your trial or you were late for your trial, a City of Houston Judge will almost always issue a warrant for your arrest.
When you fail to appear in Court, a new criminal charge called a Failure to Appear will also be filed against most Defendants in addition to the issuance of a warrant. A warrant and a Failure to Appear are not the same thing. A warrant is an order by the Judge to arrest you. A Failure to Appear is a new Class C Misdemeanor criminal charge against you for missing your court date or being late for your Court date.
During the Warrant Roundup every year, Houston police aggressively arrest people all over Houston where ever they can find them.
Don’t Pay Old Tickets to Avoid Warrants!!!
Every year, during the Warrant Roundup, thousands of Houstonians try to avoid being arrested on their outstanding warrants by just paying the old underlying tickets. This is what the City of Houston and the other 180 jurisdictions want you to do. They are only after the money and could care less about what happens to you. Paying the underlying traffic tickets will get you out of warrants, but when you pay those tickets, you will be CONVICTED of each violation you pay!
Anytime you pay a traffic ticket through the mail or in person at the Courthouse, you are entering a plea of guilty or no contest and you are convicted. If the fine was the only penalty, that would be great. But for most traffic tickets and other Class C Misdemeanors, the fine is not the only penalty. Hidden penalties that the City of Houston Municipal Courts will not tell you about when you pay your tickets include:
- Convictions Reported to Your Driving Record
- Substantially Higher Insurance Rates
- Suspension of Your Driver’s License and Driving Privileges
- Loss of Employment
Here are just a few examples of some of the many hidden penalties you may be subject to if you just pay your old traffic tickets to avoid being arrested on warrants during the Warrant Roundup:
- For each moving violation you pay you will receive TWO points on your DPS (Texas Department of Public Safety) driving record.
- For each accident violation you pay, you will receive THREE points on your DPS driving record.
- When you get to SIX points on your DPS driving record anytime during a three year period, you will begin to pay SURCHARGES to the DPS each year for a minimum of three years. Surcharges start at $100 per year and go up $25 per point for each point above 6 points.
- If you pay 4 or more moving violations that occurred during a 12 month period, you license can be suspended. If you drive during the suspension, your suspension can be extended and you can be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor and spend up to 180 days in jail.
- Paying a no liability insurance (financial responsibility) ticket will result in your owing an automatic surcharge of $250 per year for the next three years. If you fail to pay this surcharge, your Texas driver’s license will be suspended. If you pay two no insurance tickets at any time during your entire driving career, your Texas drivers license will be suspended by the DPS. If you drive during the suspension, your license suspension can be extended and you can be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor and spend up to 180 days in jail.
Don’t’ Pay Those Tickets; POST A BOND Instead!!!
There is a much better way to avoid warrants and protect your driving record, protect your insurance rates, avoid points, avoid surcharges and avoid license suspensions.
The legal system provides a wonderful way to get out of warrants without paying the fines and suffering all the hidden penalties. It is called a BOND. By posting a bond, you are no longer subject to arrest under the warrant. A bond has the effect of suspending the warrant. When you post a bond, you are NOT convicted of the the underlying tickets. When you post a bond, you will instead receive a new Court date to go to court and fight your old tickets.
Remember a traffic ticket is not a bill or a debt. The City of Houston would like to trick you into thinking that it is by sending you lots of letters that look like collection letters, but a traffic ticket is NOT a bill or debt you owe. Don’t let them trick you. A traffic ticket is merely a citation alleging a criminal violation. As such, you are presumed NOT GUILTY and don’t owe any kind of fines to the Court unless you are convicted. If you do not plead “guilty” or “no contest”, the State (a prosecutor working for the Government) has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Once you have posted a bond, there are also other things (such as Deferred Adjudication and Defensive Driving) you can do to avoid conviction that will protect your driving record, you insurance rates, your driver’s license, and protect you from expensive points and surcharges.
You can post a bond three different ways. 1) You can post a cash bond for the whole amount of the bond yourself, 2) You can post a surety bond through a bonding company, or 3) You can post a surety bond through an attorney bondsman. An attorney who is also a bondsman will also help you with the defense of your cases once the bonds are posted.
Houston Traffic Ticket Lawyer, Kameron Searle, is an attorney- bondsman and strongly warns you against paying old traffic tickets to avoid being arrested on warrants during the Warrant Roundup or at any other time.
Our Bond Posting Policies
We will post post bonds for clients on a case by case basis. We reserve the right not to post bonds on your behalf. We have certain guidelines that we follow when deciding whether to post bonds:
1. We will only consider posting bonds for our clients who live in Harris County. If you live outside of Harris County, you will need to post a cash bond or post a surety bond through a bonding company to remove your warrant.
2. We will only consider posting bonds on a client with a valid Texas drivers license. If you do not have a valid Texas drivers license, you may post a cash bond or post a surety bond through a bonding company to remove your warrant.
3. We will not post bonds for CDL truck drivers regardless of where you live. If you are a CDL truck driver, you may post a cash bond or post a surety bond through a bonding company to remove your warrant.
4. We will not post bonds for those who are not residing in the United States legally. If you are not residing in the United States legally, you may post a cash bond or post a surety bond through a bonding company.
5. If you have more than one set of tickets in warrants, we will not post bonds. If you have more than one set of tickets, you may post a cash bond or post a bond through a bonding company.
If you have warrants at the City of Houston, give our very helpful assistant, Marisa, a call at:
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