Don’t Pay Old Tickets: Make a Better Choice

It’s happened to most of us: you receive a traffic ticket and set it aside, fully intending to either pay the fines and fees or appear before a judge to plead your case. Life takes over, you get busy with your job, your children and the myriad of other issues which take up your time. Soon, time has passed and without your realizing it you have missed your window of opportunity. The result could well be an arrest warrant with your name on it.

Some people believe the underlying traffic ticket was unfair, or that they simply did not commit the crime, which is most likely a relatively minor Class C misdemeanor such as speeding, failure to display a registration or inspection sticker, or sliding through a stop light or stop sign. Irrespective of such beliefs, missing a court appearance for any of these violations can carry very real consequences.


The bottom line, however, is that ignoring or forgetting those tickets or court dates is not the best course of action. Such neglect almost always catches up to you and with the Houston Warrant Roundup just around the corner, that time could be nearer than you think. For the past seven years Houston and Harris County have joined with over 250 other jurisdictions across the state of Texas to take part in the Great Texas Warrant Roundup. While no official date for 2016 has yet been released, the Roundup generally kicks off during the last week of February, lasting several weeks. There are two distinct phases of the Roundup. The first phase is intended to give a “heads up” to those with arrest warrants through notifications via phone, mail or notes left on your front door.


Of course the notification system is hardly perfect, meaning not every person with a warrant will be properly notified. Once the notification phase has run its course, law enforcement personnel will begin aggressively seeking out those with warrants in order to collect the fines or arrest the person whether that arrest takes place at work, in front of the boss, at home with family members or even at your child’s school. The “knee-jerk” reaction to realizing there is an arrest warrant with your name on it is to rush down to the courthouse to pay your fines and fees. On the surface this seems a rational solution to the immediate problem, however it’s important that you consider the long-term repercussions of simply writing a check.


Avoiding Negative RepercussionsIt is natural that you will want to avoid the humiliation of being handcuffed in front of your co-workers or loved ones, however take a few moments to consider the alternative before paying your past due court amounts. While it is highly unlikely that you would be arrested as you stand in line to take care of your fines, it is possible. For this reason it can be a much better plan to have a Sullo & Sullo Houston Warrant Roundup Lawyer post a bond on your behalf, effectively quashing the arrest warrant and possibly opening up more options as far as taking care of the underlying causes of the arrest warrant.


Once you open up your wallet, you have effectively pled guilty to the original charge, and the conviction will go on your criminal record. You will accrue points for the offense—and when you have a certain number of points you could actually lose your driver’s license not to mention your insurance rates will skyrocket. There are a variety of complexities involved, particularly for those whose job requires that they drive or that they have a CDL license. Our Houston Warrant Roundup Lawyers are likely aware of solutions you had not considered, meaning you have a much greater chance of a positive outcome. Our Sullo & Sullo Warrant Roundup Attorneys have been dealing with traffic citations and traffic warrants for many years and we can lay out your options and attempt to lessen the long-term effects.


Protecting Your Driving RecordYour Texas driving record should be protected to the fullest extent possible as it influences a wide variety of issues. In some cases you can attend traffic school when you receive a traffic citation which will prevent points from being added to your driving record. Paying a ticket is equal to a conviction, so it’s important that you keep that in mind and not allow the threat of an arrest warrant force you into doing something that will have negative consequences. Traffic violations, while they are generally misdemeanors, are nonetheless considered criminal offenses and as such become part of your permanent record.


When a potential employer conducts a background check, this information could be visible to them and could prevent you from obtaining a job you want and are well qualified for. The state of Texas routinely tracks your violations and auto accidents and if you simply pay past tickets you could find yourself in the unenviable position of being unable to renew your driver’s license. Further, your insurance company is allowed to pull your driving record periodically in order to determine whether they will continue to insure you and, if so, how much they will raise your rates depending on points accrued.


The point system implemented by the state of Texas generally garners you two points for a moving violation or three for a moving violation resulting in an accident. Once you have reached the six-point limit within a three-year period, DPS will also assess yearly surcharges. These surcharges can be a true financial nightmare, starting at $100 per year with increases of $25 per point for each point received above six points. Paying a ticket given for failure to provide proof of insurance could garner you a surcharge of up to $250 per year for the next three years—neglecting to pay that surcharge could result in a license suspension. Sullo & Sullo attorneys could potentially negotiate a plea or even get the underlying traffic charges dropped in order to minimize the points to your license as well as the surcharges.


Call the Houston Warrant Roundup Lawyers at Sullo & Sullo before Paying Old Traffic TicketsIf you have a traffic warrant issued from any of the following courts--Houston Municipal Court, HCJP 1-1, HCJP 1-2, HCJP 3-1, HCJP 4-1, HCJP 4-2, HCJP 5-1, HCJP 5-2, HCJP 7-2, HCJP 8-1, HCJP 8-2, Jersey Village Municipal Court, Sugarland Municipal Court, Stafford Municipal Court, Missouri City Municipal Court, Pasadena Municipal Court, City of South Houston Municipal Court and Baytown Municipal Court—there may be many valid reasons not to pay your old traffic tickets. Our system offers several avenues for getting out from under an arrest warrant without paying fines and be subject to points and hidden penalties. Our attorneys can post a bond on your behalf, effectively quashing the warrant. Once that is done, you have many options available to you and it is certainly in your best interests to explore those options with a Sullo & Sullo Warrant Roundup Lawyer by your side.


theLEGALspotlight:

Landing Yourself in Harris County Criminal Court

If you have been arrested for a criminal offense in Harris County, it is essential that you speak to a knowledgeable Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer as quickly as possible. Criminal convictions have many, many adverse consequences, aside from the more obvious ones like time behind bars and heavy fines and fees. Ending up in a Harris County Jail can be frightening in and of itself. Should you be sentenced to spend more time behind bars, your life would take a definite turn for the worse.

Not only would you be spending time in jail or prison (depending on the crime and the sentence), you would likely lose your job and since you would not be able to work and pay your bills, you could also lose your home. Once you have served your time, you may find that your Harris County Criminal Records make it extremely difficult to obtain employment, rent a home, or, in the case of more serious felony convictions, even vote, own a firearm or secure a professional license.

While there is a presumption of innocence in our criminal justice system, this is not always the case, and in the court of public opinion—as well as to the Harris County District Attorney and possibly even a jury of your peers—you may have already been judged guilty. There are a number of criminal offenses in Harris County which could result in time in a Harris County Criminal Court, and, in the event of a conviction, Harris County Jail.

Having an experienced Houston Criminal Attorney in your corner can make all the difference in the eventual outcome of your criminal charges. Sullo & Sullo has represented more than 250,000 clients since 2000, with more “not guilty” jury verdicts at the Houston Municipal Court than any other law firm in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018. With twelve Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys and a twenty-five plus member staff to assist you, we handle most all criminal offenses, whether felonies or misdemeanors, including capital crimes and federal and state criminal appeals.

Your Houston Criminal Charges Begin with an Investigation - Should the police have reason to believe you committed a criminal offense, they will mount an investigation, during which time they will gather information, assess the facts, conduct interviews of any potential witnesses, and work to collect evidence to prove their suspicions. When the police feel they have sufficient evidence against you, they could ask for a warrant for your arrest. If you are arrested, you will be taken before a judge who will either grant or deny bail, depending on your prior criminal history as well as the criminal offense you are charged with. Having an experienced Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Defense Attorney by your side from the time you are charged with a criminal offense can truly make a difference in whether or not you will be required to remain in jail until your trial—which could be months or even a year.

What About a Plea Bargain? Your arraignment will be your first appearance in a Harris County Criminal Court. You will enter your plea of guilty or not guilty; if you enter a plea of not guilty (which is likely), you will then be required to appear at a preliminary hearing. At this time, the Harris County District Attorney will attempt to show there is sufficient evidence against you to proceed to trial. Having a Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer by your side is extremely important during this stage of the process. Your attorney may argue there is insufficient evidence against you to merit going to trial and that your charges should be dropped. If probable cause is established, however, your Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Attorney may negotiate a plea bargain with the Harris County District Attorney to have some of your charges dropped against you or may advocate for a more moderate sentence for you in exchange for your guilty plea. Your Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer will never make a plea unless you are on board and will never hesitate to take your case to trial, litigating aggressively for the best possible outcome.

What About Expungement? Expungement allows those with a criminal record to clean it up, so to speak, starting over with a clean slate. The criminal case is reopened, the conviction dismissed, and the case closed leaving a relatively clean record.  Although the case record itself remains, the label of convicted felon no longer applies. Although every person convicted of a crime would probably love to have their criminal record expunged, only certain cases will qualify. Many times, certain crimes could be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor and the decision is left to the discretion of the prosecutor. Your Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Lawyer can help you determine whether your case is eligible for expunction.

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost? You may be asking yourself “How much does a lawyer cost?” and that is an understandable worry. Yes, it does cost money to hire a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney, however not hiring an attorney can have devastating, long-ranging consequences, so it is almost always a cost that is definitely worth it. Not all Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers are equally capable of mounting a successful criminal defense on your behalf; our attorneys know that the Harris County District Attorney will have a huge influence on the outcome of your case, and we are always mindful of that fact when going through the process.

At Sullo & Sullo, we have a goal of providing you with as much information as possible following your Houston criminal charges to reduce your levels of fear and anxiety. We want you to feel confident in your choice of a Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Lawyer and believe that the more you know about your charges and the potential outcomes, the more likely this will occur. At Sullo & Sullo we have many years of individual and combined experience in criminal defense law. This experience allows us to carefully craft the best legal approach for your specific charges and your specific circumstances.

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