Maybe you’ve never needed a traffic ticket lawyer in El Paso. Maybe you’ve never had a traffic warrant or a warrant for your arrest. But 1 in 5 people in El Paso have an active warrant on a traffic ticket – so it’s likely you know SOMEONE who has one.
Oh! And that number isn’t even counting all the people who have warrants out for their arrest for more serious criminal charges, failure to pay child support, etc. …
It’s A LOT of warrants.
Have you ever wondered what a warrant is or how it works?
In this post, your El Paso Traffic Ticket Lawyer talks about all things warrants. Not search warrants (those are for another day) but the ones that can get you arrested and thrown into the county jail.
There are three types of warrants:
(1) Arrest Warrant
Arrest warrants are the warrants that you traditionally think of:
a police officer gives a complaint affidavit (sworn police report) to a judge and the judge decides that there’s probable cause for your arrest.
If there is probable cause, she/he will sign the warrant, set a bond, and it will get filed either with the police department or with the sheriff’s department. At that point, law enforcement officers go looking for you actively.
Arrest warrants are a little bit more challenging to deal with because no one’s going to say,
“Hey, bro, you have a warrant.”
And we can’t, as citizens, search through a database to see if you have an arrest warrant. They’re often called “pocket warrants“ and they’re hidden from everyone’s view for various reasons. One of those reasons is that law enforcement doesn’t want you finding out you have a warrant and running out of Texas!
Arrest warrants can be taken care of and sometimes defense attorneys and traffic ticket attorneys can figure out if you do have one and you can turn yourself in. Other times police officers are cool, and they say,
“Hey man, you have a warrant.”
That’s great, right? You can make arrangements to turn yourself in but never ever say anything about your case to a police officer without talking to a lawyer first.
(2) Bench Warrant
Bench warrants are issued by a judge after a case is filed. In the traffic world, it happens when you miss court. For example, with El Paso Municipal Court, if you miss court once, you’ll get another hearing (another chance to appear). And if you miss it again and blow it off, you’re going to get a failure to appear and so you’ll have a warrant for your arrest for that traffic ticket (e.g., your speeding ticket or red light ticket in El Paso).
The other time bench warrants come into play is if you’re a probationer and you violate a condition of a probation like picking up a new charge or doing drugs or being out after curfew. Judges can issue bench warrants for your arrest for that. If you’re on deferred probation, you’re entitled to a bond, but if you’re on straight probation, judges can hold you in jail on a “no bond” for a period of time. Be mindful of that, if you know that a probation violation is coming down the pipe, please get an attorney to help mitigate that risk.
(3) Capias Pro Fine
These warrants are ones that say,
“Get this guy or gal, bring them in front of me so we can do what’s called an indigency hearing.”
Capias Pro Fine warrants happen when you don’t pay the fine on your traffic ticket.
For example, you plead “no contest” to a traffic ticket for $200 and you didn’t pay the $200, you are entitled to an indigency hearing where a judge will ask you,
“Hey, what happened? Did you try to pay for the ticket? What are your financial circumstances?”
And sometimes, those judges will release you and you can do community service or make other payment arrangements. You get one chance at those, if you screw it up and blow off that community service, you’re going straight to jail on another warrant.
(4) How do I get rid of them?
As a traffic ticket lawyer in El Paso, we are always working to keep you out of jail. We are criminal defense lawyers and we have several ways that you can deal with any type of warrants. For traffic warrants on speeding tickets you haven’t pled guilty/no contest on, for example, we can get them recalled. On traffic warrants where you’ve been found guilty but can’t pay, you can call the court and schedule an indigency hearing.
On more serious warrants, you can surrender yourself or you can hire a criminal defense attorney and set a bond hearing and surrender at the same time, or you can go through a bonding company and pay your bond upfront. With the surrender option (using a bonding company), all you have to do is surrender yourself, get booked, get processed and get let out of jail in a matter of hours instead of a matter of days (we call this satellite booking)!
Stay safe and keep yourself (or your boyfriend or your employee) out of jail!
If you need a license restoration lawyer in El Paso, San Antonio, or Odessa, we can help!