Every year, Houston conducts a traffic warrant roundup. This roundup can spell trouble for anyone who has outstanding traffic tickets. There may be some confusion regarding how police handle outstanding warrants, but the important point is that if delinquent tickets are not dealt with, it’s only a matter of time before the police come calling. And when they do, anyone who is arrested may end up in a more expensive and damaging situation. This is not to mention the embarrassment and inconvenience of having your car towed. For this reason, it is highly recommended that anyone with an outstanding warrant work with an experienced attorney that handles warrants and traffic tickets.
What are some popular misconceptions about the Houston traffic warrant roundup?
Since these concepts can have an enormous impact on someone’s life if they aren’t aware of what’s going on, let’s clear up some of the most pressing misconceptions regarding the warrant roundup.
- There are too many warrants out there. No way they can round up everyone. – This is the kind of gamble that isn’t worth taking. While there are plenty of warrants for Houston police to deal with, Houston’s traffic warrant roundup is just part of a larger statewide roundup, and across Texas, more than 10,000 people are arrested every year for their outstanding warrants. Most of these people committed minor offenses, like forgetting to pay a traffic ticket or forgetting to attend a court date.Houston police have sophisticated methods of tracking down anyone who has an outstanding warrant. This is true even if the offender is living in another part of the state. While Houston and other Texas officers will not find 100 percent of the people with outstanding warrants, it isn’t worth the risk of ignoring the roundup.
- Houston police won’t arrest people who committed offenses elsewhere. – A warrant issued in one Texas municipality is valid everywhere in the state, so even if someone commits a minor offense in Dallas or out in the reaches of West Texas, they can be picked up by Houston police if the warrant is still outstanding.
- After enough time has passed, that warrant will probably drop off the radar. – There’s a popular misconception floating around that warrants expire after a certain amount of time. This might give a false sense of security if someone has managed to skirt by with an outstanding warrant after a roundup or two, but it’s incorrect. Warrants never expire, so even if someone has escaped several roundups in a row, there’s no guarantee their luck will hold up when the next roundup comes around.
- Why not just wait until the police show up and pay the fines then? – This might be the most dangerous course of action someone can take in dealing with their outstanding warrant, for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s impossible to know when and where police will show up to make the arrest, and two, once a person is arrested, their options to get the case dismissed drop significantly.
Imagine how damaging it will look if the police make the arrest while the offender is sitting at their desk at work, or in their car with an important customer. Let’s be clear, Houston police (and any police for that matter) don’t care how an arrest looks to an employer, a landlord, a girlfriend or to a parent. If someone with an outstanding warrant takes their chances in this regard, they risk an extremely embarrassing and potentially life-altering experience.
Also, prior to and during warrant roundups, the City of Houston strongly encourages people to go to the courthouse and pay off their outstanding traffic tickets. This may seem like a reasonable thing to recommend but beware. The city will claim that it just wants to work with those with outstanding warrants, but there’s nothing stopping them from arresting people who show up at the courthouse.
But even worse, and this is the real reason why it is essential to seek help from an attorney, paying off outstanding traffic tickets is an admission of guilt and a permanent conviction. Why is that important? Well, traffic tickets and Class C misdemeanors (both of which make up the majority of outstanding warrants) often come with additional penalties and surcharges on top of those fines. This can include a driver license suspension. Neither the judge nor the court clerk will tell you about these hidden consequences. A qualified traffic lawyer protects against unintended problems brought on by those who try to represent themselves without a traffic ticket attorney.
What to Do Instead
What should be clear by now is that it is important to think this through. Waiting until the last second and reacting to the situation is a road to disaster and a road that the city is more than happy to escort people down. The only person who will advocate for the defendant is an attorney experienced in defending traffic tickets.
Every year, the Houston traffic warrant roundup intimidates a lot of people into making a bad legal decision – and one that has long-term effects. Don’t make a mistake. Let an experienced attorney use their expertise to avoid the worst of the warrant roundup, and take care of those outstanding charges once and for all without blemishing your driving record whenever possible.