How to Handle a Traffic Warrant

What do those dates on the traffic, speeding, or moving violation ticket that you just received, mean?  It is tempting to simply take the ticket and tear it up, or stuff it into the glove compartment to be dealt with later.  However, those dates on your traffic ticket are court dates, and the ticket itself is considered to be a legal summons, duly served by a uniformed officer of the law, to attend the court hearing regarding the charges made in the ticket.  If you do not attend, the judge in charge of the hearing will issue a warrant for your arrest.  How can you handle traffic warrants, and what are your options for getting this reversed or removed if you have mistakenly failed to attend your hearing and been put on warrant?

Options for Traffic Warrants

  • One of the first options for handling a traffic warrant is to get a lawyer and go into the court to turn yourself in. 

This is probably the safest option, as when you turn yourself in, you will have the option of paying bail, which allows you to remain free, while the court hearing is pending.  Turning yourself in will satisfy the warrant and it will also ensure that the police are not actively searching for you at your address on record at the time of your driver’s license renewal or last activity with the DMV.  Contacting a lawyer is smart, because the lawyer will be able to help you negotiate the court process that surrounds a warrant.

  • Another option is to attempt to explain to the court why you missed the date and failed to pay the ticket. 

This does not often work, as when you were issued the ticket, you could simply have called the court and asked to reschedule, but you may be able to negotiate with the judge if there was some error that prevented you from attending the hearing.  You may also be able to forfeit bail, meaning that you are turning yourself in and as a result you will not have to pay bail in exchange for a guilty plea and an end to the warrant.

  • If none of the other options are available to you, you may want to inquire about amnesty days.

Amnesty days are days when the courts offer to not prosecute anyone who comes forward to pay a back fine, ticket, or other legal issue.  These are sometimes offered by overworked courts in order to help generate revenue and close open warrants and cases.

Getting Help

A traffic warrant is a serious offense that can have serious consequences, so you will want to deal with it as soon as possible.  By contacting a lawyer, you can help to make sure you get everything taken care of with minimal consequences.

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