January 04, 2017 - Many people who are aware of the fact they have an outstanding warrant due to unpaid traffic tickets wonder what the chances really are of being arrested when they go to the courthouse to pay those tickets. In fact, you actually could be arrested inside the courthouse, although it is highly unlikely. You are much more likely to be arrested during a traffic stop, although once the enforcement phase of the upcoming 2017 Great Texas Warrant Roundup, you could theoretically be arrested anywhere—in your home, at work, even while standing in line at the bank. If you are at the courthouse with a goal of paying your tickets, it is unlikely you will be arrested, but what if you are there to take care of another matter?
Or, what if you are attempting to renew your driver’s license, and find yourself being escorted to a police cruiser once the computer pulls up your outstanding warrant? In short, having a warrant hanging over your head is no way to live, however there is a right way and a wrong way to take care of the matter. Every year for the past ten years, as many as 300 agencies have participated in the Great Texas Warrant Roundup. While no firm dates have been announced for the 2017 Roundup, it is likely it will follow past Roundups, with the amnesty phase taking place during the last two weeks of February, and the enforcement phase occurring during the first two weeks of March.
Should You Pay Your Tickets During the Roundup?
You may decide it is much simpler to write a check for your warrant bond fee as well as the fines and fees for your underlying traffic citations, drop it in the mail (or pay online) and get on with your life. While this does sound like the easiest course of action, you may later be shocked to find there are a number of unintended consequences associated with such an action. First of all, the amount of money you pay may be much more than you anticipated. In some cases the state of Texas adds an annual surcharge on to your fines and fees which can be anywhere from $100-$1,000, paid for a minimum of three years.
Second, once you pay all those fines and fees, points will be added to your driving record. Depending on the offense, the points could be from 2 to 4 per offense. This may not sound like much, but you could potentially lose your license for up to six months with six points on your driving record. Your insurance company will either drop you totally, or increase your monthly premiums considerably. Your criminal record will also reflect the traffic citation convictions. Both prospective landlords and employers have the right to look at both your driving record and your criminal record, which could have negative consequences as well.
Taking a Different Route
So, now that you know how many negative issues can result from simply paying your old traffic tickets, you are likely wondering what the alternative is. The best alternative is to contact a Sullo & Sullo attorney as soon as possible, even before the 2017 Great Texas Warrant Roundup kicks in. Your attorney can post a bond on your behalf, removing the threat of arrest, and can then look at your underlying tickets to determine the best way to handle them. It may be possible, in some instances, to have the tickets dismissed altogether. Your Sullo & Sullo attorney may negotiate a deferred adjudication on your behalf, or work out a resolution in which you attend traffic school in order to avoid points on your license. Whatever the resolution, it is almost certain the outcome will be much more positive than the outcome you will face by paying your ticket. If, however, you are arrested due to your outstanding traffic warrant, remember the following:
· Don’t resist arrest;
· Remain silent until you speak to your attorney;
· Refrain from rude or belligerent behavior;
If you have outstanding traffic warrants, it could be in your best interests to contact the Houston, Texas Traffic Warrant Roundup Attorneys at Sullo & Sullo, LLP as soon as is possible.