Clearing Up Texas Warrants
There are really two Types of Warrants in Texas. For this page, I’m assuming you’re looking for help in clearing up a Warrant of Arrest or Arrest Warrant in Texas. These can hang over your head for years if you don’t correct them. You’re probably afraid that the police are going to come and pick you up at the worst time possible. This can mean at work, in front of your family, in front of your friends, etc… The fear of the unknown is the worst part of it.
This is a problem that comes up over and over again for clients. Most of the time I’ll get a phone call or they’ll come into my office and tell me that they *think* there is a warrant out for their arrest. One of the first questions is, Can the Police Kick in My Door? The reason for these warrants can be everything from an unpaid speeding ticket to a Failure to Appear on a misdemeanor or felony charge. The big problem is finding what city or county the warrant is out of. If you’ve moved around the state a lot and received many tickets or criminal charges, then you may have warrants all over Texas. It can seem like you’re playing Whack-A-Mole, right? You get one cleared up just to be pulled over and arrested for another. Step 1 of Clearing Up Your Texas Warrants is FINDING THEM.
Step 1: Where Can You Find Your Warrants?
The answer is that it depends. If the reason for your Arrest Warrant existing is a Failure to Appear (usually unpaid traffic tickets), you can go to Texas DPS Failure to Appear Warrant Lookup. This will help you find out the locations of the Courts where you have unpaid tickets. If you’re living in Austin, Texas or Travis County, you can visit the Travis County Sheriff’s Warrant Lookup.
If it’s in Williamson County, in Georgetown, Round Rock, Pflugerville, etc… then you might want to call a Bail Bondsman. First, some questions that need to be answered.
Why was the warrant issued by the Court?
More often than not, warrants get issued by the Judge for your unpaid parking tickets, you not showing up to your Court date, or you are a suspect in a crime and the police have probable cause to believe that you committed that crime. If your case is in the Municipal Court or Justice of the Peace Court and you don’t show up, a criminal Failure to Appear charge will be filed against you and a warrant will be issued. If a warrant is issued for your arrest, whether it’s a Class C Misdemeanor, or a very serious felony, the Judge will almost certainly set a bond amount for your release. This is a dollar amount you must pay to be released from custody.
Step 2: Getting the Warrant Lifted
How do you get rid of your warrant or warrants? Do I need to turn myself in?
Class C Misdemeanors
If the warrant is a Class C misdemeanor, the answer is usually – NO, you don’t have to turn yourself in. Usually you will have to post a $500 bond with the Court, or ask your lawyer to file an Appearance Bond for you…. Will the police come knocking on your door for a Class C warrant? Again, the answer is probably no. Why? The police have bigger fish to fry.
Class B Misdemeanors and All Felonies
Will the police knock on your door for higher level arrest warrants? The answer is probably YES. For example, if there is an active warrant for a Class B misdemeanor through a First Degree felony, I would advise you to talk to a lawyer before turning yourself in.
The next thing I would do is call a Bail Bondsman so you can arrange what is called a “Walkthrough” in Texas. A Bail Bondsman can search for your active warrants in a computer database. They can literally walk you through the jail booking process. A Bail Bondsman can start filling out the paperwork to get you out of jail as soon as you start getting booked in. A Walkthrough as it is called is the easiest, fastest, way for you to book in and book out of jail.
Do I need to hire a Bail Bondsman to do a Walkthrough in Williamson or Travis County?
It depends on what county of Texas you’re in. I practice mostly in Williamson and Travis Counties. In Williamson County, Yes you need a Bail Bondsman for a Walkthrough. In Travis County, you don’t. In Travis County, if you hire a lawyer, a lawyer may post the bond for you. Some lawyers who act as the Bondsman to get you out of jail may roll the fee they charge for your jail release in Austin towards their fee for representing you in Court. This means you won’t have to pay a Bail Bondsman AND your lawyer separately.
When is the warrant lifted?
The warrant is lifted once the bond is paid to the Court by your lawyer or Bail Bondsman. This may be after you book in to jail, and/or do your Walkthrough with your Bail Bondsman or Lawyer. After the warrant is lifted, you will be given a new Court date to show up and answer the criminal charges against you. If you haven’t hired a lawyer already at this point, DO IT. And make sure you do it at least a week to a few days before your Court date. If you drag your feet, you’ll have to explain to the Judge why you haven’t found a lawyer yet or ask for a Court Appointed lawyer if you can’t afford one.