The good news is that you can leave the house for a few days and see some new things. The bad news is that you better do it somewhere in another state, because law enforcement agecies across Texas are combining their efforts once again for the Great Texas Warrant Roundup! On March 7, 2015, over 300 agencies will once again combine forces to crack down on unpaid tickets, failures to appear, and other offenses.
Arrests on active warrants occur mostly at your house, where you are easy to find, but the police can pick you up anywhere they can find you. It could be at work, in the school parking lot, or at yoga. It can turn a nice spring day into something really unpleasant. The coffee at the jail is not good, and on top of that it’s not for you. Even if your boss is cool, he’s probably not going to be happy with your late arrival (or no show), and your family won’t appreeciate the hassle of trying to come get you out for something that should’ve been taken care of.
You might think it’s easy to avoid the Warrant Roundup because your address has changed since you racked up those warrants. Think again. Anyone familiar with the system knows that when you DO go down to DPS to renew your license, or change address, they will check you for warrants. Not surprisingly, they will also not renew your drivers license if you have an outstanding warrant. In addition, since 2011, some police forces have been using License Plate Recognition technology to spot offenders who would otherwise go unnoticed. Did I mention that the tone of the Warrant Roundup was slightly aggressive? One of the stated goals of the Warrant Roundup was to enhance public awareness (fear?) by making the effort highly visible and coordinated statewide. There are news blurbs, blogs, and messages along the highway making sure that everyone knows March 7 is D-Day. The message is all about getting tough on scofflaws. The unstated goal (because it’s obvious) is that they want their money. It is no accident that the Roundup occurs during tax season- lots of the lower income folks who simply can’t pay off their tickets will temporarily have cash in their pockets. So strike while the iron’s hot as they say, there’s no sense in just jailing folks who can’t pay to get out (jail credit is applied to traffic fines on a daily basis)- you gotta catch ’em when the funds are available.
If you have any reason to believe you may have an unresolved legal issue floating out there somewhere, the time to act is now. If you live in Austin, you can check for warrants from the Travis County Sheriff’s Office (mainly felony and misdemeanor cases above class C) or the Austin Police Department (mostly traffic tickets and class C offenses). Go to Travis County Warrant to run a name search through either of these databases, and if you find yourself, contact our office for help. We can quickly review your status and get you back to warrantless living. As well, if you already know you have an arrest warrant in another county, contact us to start clearing it and begin working on your case. Having a dedicated lawyer on your side is the first step to relieving stress and restoring your peace of mind!