I hope that after reading my previous blog in this two-part series you are no longer afraid of the Texas Traffic Warrant Amnesty roundup. Let’s calmly consider what your next steps are.
Of course, you can hire an attorney like me, and I typically can get warrants lifted to entirely eliminate the possibility of arrest. Courts generally understand you are serious about taking care of tickets when you get an attorney involved. I can’t offer any guarantees, but it is routine to protect my ticket clients from convictions, and they rarely have to appear in person.
You can go to court without an attorney, if you so choose. I won’t attempt to advise you against that choice, but I want you to know some information before you proceed further.
You won’t get amnesty because that word generally means you are pardoned or no longer held responsible. Rather than amnesty, this is just the courts’ way of convincing you to come pay. Many people are so afraid of getting arrested at the courthouse, they won’t go at all. This fact is not lost on people working in courts. Enticing people with the assurance they won’t be arrested for a short time or when they come in person to court brings people in droves.
So, it is preferable not to get arrested, but they are not cutting you a break.
You do not “owe” anything at all, period. The only time you are required to pay any Texas court for your ticket is after you agree to pay, enter a plea of guilty or no contest (learn the difference here), or you lose a trial. If you are too poor to pay, you can ask the court to excuse you from paying.
Poor or not, you are entitled to plead not guilty and request a trial, even a jury trial, if that’s what you want to do. The court may require you to post a bond for trial because you have already failed to appear for court, which is why you had a warrant in the first place.
It’s a terrible idea to simply pay a ticket, especially a moving violation. Your payment (or a payment plan) equals a guilty plea, and the court finds you guilty. Your driving record reflects a conviction shortly thereafter.
Convictions on your driving record can cause more trouble than you think. Paying out of your pocket to the court is obvious, direct punishment. It doesn’t end there.
You could encounter what is known as “collateral consequences”, or indirect punishment. Conviction could result in a higher insurance bill or a denied renewal, loss of a job or inability to be hired, a requirement to pay for an SR-22, or your license could even be suspended, among other things. Don’t just go down to the court and pay your ticket, unless that’s truly what you want and you know the consequences.
You’ll probably be happier when it’s not lurking out there against you. Take care of it at your earliest convenience. Call me. I can help you do it the right way, and you’ll have the peace of mind it’s being done right.