People across Orange County with arrest warrants for most misdemeanor offenses will soon get a chance to go to court and work out their fines without being arrested.
Orange Mayor Larry Spears Jr. and Assistant District Attorney Krispen Walker Wednesday announced Warrant Resolution Week will be May 6-10.
Spears said he was asked about whether something could be done to help people who have accumulated big fines and arrest warrants after getting tickets for minor offenses.
Tickets for things like an expired inspection sticker, no driver’s license, or no insurance can result in an arrest warrant if the person does not pay the fine or appear in court.
“They’re scared to go into court” if they can’t pay the fine, Walker said. They then get more fines for failure to appear in court. “This just creates a downward spiral,” she said.
Some of the traffic tickets also result in the Texas Department of Public Safety adding surcharges to get a driver’s license. The surcharges and fines can add up to thousands of dollars, making it impossible for people with low-income wages to afford to get a driver’s license.
Spears said this will be a way for people to get a driver’s license back so they can get a job.
The justices of the peace in all four Orange County precincts have agreed to the warrant resolution week for those with Class C misdemeanors.
Municipal judges in Orange, West Orange, Pinehurst, Bridge City, and Vidor handle Class C tickets issued in their cities. They, too, will be participating.
People with the tickets and warrants will be able to go before the appropriate judge during the special week and work out a plan. Plans might include a payment system, getting fines lowered, or arranging to do community service to offset the fines.
-Margaret Toal, KOGT-