Having an active warrant against you can be a frightening experience. For a crime as minor as a class C misdemeanor, the law enforcement officer can arrest you on spot.
If not dealt with properly, an active warrant can lead to a lot of embarrassing situations over and above the penalties of the underlying crime. But there are legal courses of action that can get you out of this situation with minimum consequences.
This article will discuss everything there is to know about warrants, including how to clear a warrant in Texas.
How to Find Out if You Have a Warrant
Warrants can be issued by the city, county, state, and federal court judges depending upon the jurisdiction with regards to the underlying crime. Every state has databases of active warrants which are accessed by law enforcement to track the fugitives. Federal warrants are maintained in a separate DOJ Warrant Information System.
Here are a few ways you can find out if there is an active warrant against you:
5 Ways to Check if You Have a Warrant:
- Check Local Records Online for Free: You can access state, county, or court official websites that store warrants information to check open warrants against you. Most of these websites will end with .gov or .org. Be extremely cautious while using any other websites.
- Contact Your U.S. Circuit Court: If you are having trouble getting information online, and you want to be absolutely sure whether there is an active warrant out for your arrest or not, you can call your U.S. Circuit Court and ask. But you do risk being taken into custody if you identify yourself on the call.
- Contact a Bail Bondsman: You can have a bail bondsman contact your local court or the federal court on your behalf. They can even visit the courthouse to access their computers and find the information if required.
- Hire an Experienced Attorney: An experienced warrant lawyer can find out if you have an active warrant against you by visiting the courthouse themselves or calling the court clerk. If you hire a lawyer, they can post your bail bond in Austin, Tx, and even help you clear warrants as soon as possible. They will provide you with the best possible course of action to get out of this situation.
- Contact the Police Department: This is the riskiest way to find out your warrant information in Texas. When you contact the police department for your warrant information, they will ask you to identify yourself. Since lying can get you into more trouble, you run a serious risk of getting arrested. They can sometimes even trace your location through the call.
Different Types of Arrest Warrants
Once a warrant is issued, you can be arrested on the spot by a law enforcement officer. Based on the underlying crime and the process of making the arrest, warrants in Texas can be classified into two types – Bench warrants and Arrest warrants.
What is a Bench Warrant?
A bench warrant is issued when a person violates the rules of the court. A few crimes that can lead to the issuance of a bench warrant in Texas are:
- Failure to pay child support,
- Failure to pay alimony,
- Missing a court date,
- Being in contempt of the court.
Once a bench warrant is issued, the defendant’s name is added to the statewide database used by law enforcement. The police don’t generally seek out the person in case of a bench warrant in Texas. But if they are otherwise stopped somewhere for other violations, they can be taken into custody and held in jail to appear in front of the court.
What is an Arrest Warrant?
To issue an arrest warrant in Texas, the court requires a ‘probable cause’ for the arrest. The enforcement officer has to submit an affidavit with the reason to believe that the crime was committed by you. If the judge is convinced by the validity of the reason, they issue an arrest warrant in your name. This permits the enforcement officers to actively seek you out and arrest you on spot.
Unlike a bench warrant, an arrest warrant is basically an immediate trigger for law enforcement to start looking for the perpetrator.
How to Clear a Warrant
Finding that you have an active warrant against you can be terrifying. While you may find yourself making hasty decisions to make this go away quicker, you have to realize your next steps can affect your whole life.
Don’t try to solve this on your own because you may end up choosing the wrong option that can cost you far more than the price of the actual ticket. So, how to clear a warrant in Texas? The best option is to work with a seasoned Austin criminal lawyer.
Here are all the ways you can deal with your warrant in Texas.
You always have the option of surrendering yourself at your own convenience and accepting the penalty. If you are short on money, this option will seem the most tempting.
While it will end up helping with the warrant at the moment, serving a sentence would basically mean admitting guilt. This admission might lead to many hidden surcharges and suspensions that will make your life difficult even after you have served your sentence.
For eg. serving time for certain types of misdemeanors would lead to a significant increase in your automobile insurance premium.
Pay the Ticket– But Risk Further Penalties
You can choose to pay the ticket (Class C matters only) amount to resolve a bench warrant for unpaid ticket quickly. This can be an effective method, except this would also mean admission to guilt. And that will result in a significant increase in your surcharges. If you don’t pay these surcharges on time, your license can get suspended.
Request a New Court Date and Pay a Cash Bond
You can instead request a new court date and choose to pay the cash bond. A cash bond is a security amount collected by the court as a guarantee for your appearance. These are mostly large sums of money collected upfront in full to ensure compliance. If you miss any of your future court dates, the court will forfeit the whole amount.
Hire an Attorney to Post a Surety Bond on Your Behalf
You can hire an Austin criminal lawyer to post a surety bond on your behalf. This will reinstate your case on record and your warrant will be removed. This way, you will have an experienced warrant lawyer representing you in the court and preparing the defense for you right from the get-go.
Need Help Clearing a Warrant in Your Name? Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
The best way of dealing with an active warrant in Texas is to hire an experienced lawyer who can visit the court on your behalf while you continue living your life as it was. If you or your loved ones are facing any criminal charges and have a warrant out, contact Austin criminal lawyer James Gill immediately.
You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where a law enforcement officer arrests you in front of your family, friends, or even colleagues.
Take control of the situation and find out the best option for your case by scheduling a consultation at 512-448-4560. The Law Offices of James Gill, PLLC serves all of Austin, Westlake, Kyle, Buda, San Marcos, and the surrounding TX communities.