How to Take Care of Your Warrant
Have you ever been shaken when the police pull up behind you because you know that you have warrants and do not want to go to jail? Have you ever thought of how inconvenient it would be to get pulled over while you are driving with your children and taken to jail over a mere warrant? Have you ever thought of how embarrassing it would be to get pulled over and go to jail while you are riding with a spouse or friend? Many times people forget that they have to go to court for traffic tickets and end up having a warrant issued for their arrest. Here are some ways to avoid the terrible situation of being arrested over simple warrants.
When you do not appear at court the judge then issues a warrant for your arrest. One option to avoid arrest is to put up a bond on your behalf. Because of the nature of a warrant many times a bond can be put up on your behalf in order to keep you out of jail. You can go to any local bail bond company and see how much it costs for them to put up a bond for you. You may also post a cash bond with the courts. This option in very convenient because many times the judge allows a person to use this cash bond towards penalties and court fees once the case has been adjudicated. Once a bond is posted, you no longer run the risk getting arrested. You will still have to appear at court, either by person or through a lawyer, but it is a cheaper way to buy you some time so that you are not arrested before you receive a chance to handle your old ticket(s).
Another option is to hire a lawyer and allow him/her to handle your warrants. In some jurisdictions a bond cannot be put up for a minimal fee because the warrant is issued as a failure to appear ticket, which is another infraction within its own right. When the warrant is issued as a failure to appear infraction, the cheapest way to handle it is to hire a lawyer to take care of the tickets for you. If you have a warrant out for your arrest and you go to court, even if it is to handle your tickets, you will be arrested. It makes no difference that you are coming in to try and remedy the situation. Once a warrant is issued for your arrest you must either have a bail bondsman put up a bond for you, get a lawyer to appear for you, or both.
Here are some tips to avoid getting a warrant
If you are a forgetful person, know that you cannot pay your ticket, or are unable make it to court, simply hire a lawyer. Once your court date is missed and a warrant goes out for your arrest it will more than likely be much more costly than simply hiring a lawyer. In fact, the cost of a warrant itself generally costs more. Why make yourself pay more money than you have to?
One of the pros of hiring a lawyer is that lawyers will work to get your ticket dismissed. In addition to this, lawyers know all of your options. Because lawyers know the law, court rules, and all of your options, they can persuade the court to make the situation work out in your favor. Also, lawyers know how to communicate with prosecutors. Lawyers, by their very nature must deal with opposing counsel on a daily basis, so they are much better at it than you are.
If you do not have the money to hire a lawyer right away, contact the court by phone, fax, or letter stating that you wish to change your court date to a different one in order to procure a lawyer to handle the situation on your behalf. Most courts will be happy to honor your wishes. Make sure you follow-up with the court if you sent the request by fax or mail to make sure that they received your correspondence, and to find out what your new court date is. This new, future court date will give you more time to find a lawyer to fight for you.
Also, make sure that if you have appeared at court and have agreed to pay any fees, that you do so. If you do not have the money, make sure you go into court and request to speak with the judge. Bring whatever monies you can muster up. Then, let the judge know that you understand you owe, but are unable to pay at that time. Ask the judge if you can receive an extension which will give you more time to pay the court. Many times the judge will grant you an extension based on your situation, but this is not automatically done.
It is imperative that you do not simply let the due date for your court fines, fees, or tickets pass you by. Once you tell the court that you are going to pay, you must pay. Failure to do so will result in a capias warrant being issued for your arrest. Capias warrants are one of the worst warrants that can be issued against a defendant in any criminal case. In relation to traffic ticket warrants, a capias warrant is a warrant that basically means, “Pay the money that you owe the courts or serve time in jail.” In any other criminal case a capias warrant basically means, “You must serve time in jail until your case is resolved.”
Capias warrants are not bondable, and once you are arrested on a capias warrant you must serve jail time. You will be in jail until your case is completely resolved, and many times that means until your case goes to trial or a settlement is reached and you serve your sentence, pay your fines, or both. Another way to get a capias warrant issued against you is by resetting your court date and failing to appear. Once you appear before the judge and get a reset, you cannot miss your court date or else a capias warrant will be issued for your arrest. Capias warrants are issued in these instances because the court is under the impression that you will not make good on your word to either pay the courts the money that you owe, or return for a future court date because you have demonstrated just that by failing to pay or failing to appear in the past.
So, the next time you get a traffic ticket, think about your next move, and make sure that it will be least costly for you in the long run. Hiring a lawyer is almost always the least costly decision to make. It costs less time, less money, and less worry.
By: Allie Booker
Attorney & Counselor At Law
The Booker Law Firm