If you have an outstanding warrant in Houston or Harris County, March 2021 could turn out to be a very bad month for you.
That’s because March is the month Texas law enforcement conducts their annual Texas Warrant Roundup. During the 2021 Warrant Roundup, the Houston Police Department, Harris County Constables, and other participating state jurisdictions will be out in force arresting people with outstanding warrants for minor Class C misdemeanors.
For most of the year, arrests for these types of outstanding warrants are made during traffic stops. However, during the 2021 Texas Warrant Roundup, law enforcement officers make a special effort to seek out persons with outstanding warrants at their home, work or school. The thought of being arrested in front of their friends, family, or co-workers is usually enough of an incentive to get their outstanding fines taken care of.
Don’t Plead Guilty Just to Avoid Going to Jail During the 2021 Warrant Roundup
Law enforcement is encouraging people to resolve their warrants to avoid arrest.
If you have an outstanding warrant in Texas and you get arrested during the roundup, you’ll have to post a bond in the full amount of your unpaid fines in order to get out of jail.
If you decide to pay the fines before law enforcement finds you, the Court will allow you to resolve your case without fear of arrest, although you’ll be assessed additional fees and costs.
However, paying a fine just to avoid arrest usually means entering a guilty plea. You could find yourself paying higher insurance premiums, having your insurance canceled, getting your driver’s license suspended, or even losing your job.
Take Steps to Protect Your Rights
An outstanding warrant won’t go away. The longer you go without resolving your case, the greater your chances of getting arrested.
If you have an outstanding warrant, you’ll want to take steps to protect your rights. Don’t enter a guilty plea, pay a hefty fine and whatever extra fees the Court tack on just to avoid going to jail — especially if you feel you are innocent of the charges.
Your best bet is to speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer before Texas law enforcement contacts you. An attorney can confirm whether you have an outstanding warrant, advise you on what to do next and help you avoid unnecessary fines and jail time. If you can’t pay the fine, an attorney will often be able to work with the courts to arrange for a payment plan that fits your budget.