Monday, January 16, 2012

What it Really Costs to Miss a Court Date


So, you received a traffic ticket, possibly for exceeding the speed limit or not stopping completely at a stop sign. It seems a relatively minor issue, so you stick the ticket in a drawer or your purse intending to take care of it as soon as you get a moment. Your court date comes and goes, and soon you have entirely forgotten about the traffic violation. What you are probably unaware of is you have now committed a separate criminal offense in Texas known as Failure to Appear which resulted in a warrant for your arrest.

Because the original incident did not seem all that serious, you are shocked and scared to find yourself being arrested on a Houston arrest warrant. Most people are unaware that a simple traffic ticket can lead to an arrest, possibly in front of their family or even worse, at work in front of their boss and co-workers. The first cost of missing your court date has just been realized and it is an emotional one. You are likely embarrassed and humiliated that others saw you arrested, and you are anxious, not knowing what you must do to get extract yourself from your present situation in the best manner possible.

Posting a Harris County Traffic Bond
Once you have been arrested, you are now liable for the original fines for your traffic offense as well as the fines for your Failure to Appear charge which can go as high as $500 plus any associated court costs. Should you be lucky enough to have escaped arrest at this point but are aware there is a Harris County arrest warrant out for you, it is imperative to retain an attorney immediately in order to avoid being arrested and having further charges levied against you.  In either case, you will be required to post a Houston traffic bond which you can do yourself, or you could choose to go through a local bonding company or your attorney.  At this point you are probably well aware that the fees and fines are stacking up at an alarming rate. Once you’ve posted your City of Houston bond you will be required to go before a judge at which time a new court date will be set. It would be extremely unwise to miss this court date as that would add trouble upon trouble.

Discussing Your Options with Your Attorney
After you have extracted yourself from the possibility of sitting in a jail cell by posting a Harris County, Jersey Village or Sugarland bond it is time to discuss your future with your attorney. It is possible he or she may be able to negotiate deferred adjudication on your behalf or possibly work out a combination of fines and a defensive driving course to avoid having this show up on your driving record. You will still be subject to any fines associated with the original traffic ticket as well as the Failure to Appear charge, however you will escape further, more serious repercussions. As you can see, the costs of missing a court date for a traffic ticket are serious and costly and not a mistake you will likely ever repeat.
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Author: Andrew Sullo
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