HOUSTON -- The City of Houston's Municipal Courts Department and Houston Police Department (HPD) announce their participation in the 2016 Great Texas Warrant Round-Up (WRU). They will be among 300 jurisdictions across the state that will engage in this annual law enforcement campaign that begins Saturday, March 5, 2016. Neighboring jurisdictions joining this statewide initiative as regional participants include Harris, Galveston, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Nueces, Waller and Wichita Counties.
"We do everything possible to encourage individuals to resolve their court matters well before they become delinquent, but when all else fails, we turn to law enforcement to execute outstanding warrants," said Director and Presiding Judge, Barbara E. Hartle. "Participating in the statewide WRU program simultaneously with other jurisdictions helps bring about greater public awareness, which will hopefully encourage people to resolve their case or cases before they are arrested," Judge Hartle explained.
Judge Hartle also shared that the Houston Municipal Court offers several options for the resolution of delinquent tickets. "Defendants may also meet with judges and prosecutors to request deferred payment plans or community service in order to resolve their case," Judge Hartle said. "I want everyone to know that they can come take care of their court business without the fear of arrest while at the courthouse," Judge Hartle further stated.
HPD will be assisted by the Texas Attorney General's Fugitive Apprehension Unit to search for individuals with outstanding warrants. Once the Warrant Round-up period begins on March 5, 2016, HPD and other law enforcement agencies will aggressively target those defendants on the warrant list. Authorities warn that arrests can take place at any location, including the defendant's home, school or workplace.
Notices are being mailed to all Houston Municipal Court defendants with active warrants. Individuals with warrants in jurisdictions other than the City of Houston should contact those jurisdictions for information about how to clear outstanding warrants. A complete list of participating regional partners and more information about warrants or outstanding citations can be found at www.houstontx.gov/courts or contact the Houston Helpline at 3-1-1 or 713-837-0311, if outside the City of Houston.
2016 Great Warrant Round-Up FAQ's
Why are you doing this?
To close cases for which all other means of resolution have been unsuccessful.
Why do this now?
Statewide cooperation with other entities provides broader public awareness. Tax refund season creates better opportunity for some defendants to have the ability to pay their fines.
How many warrants are outstanding?
This number is not constant and changes periodically. In the month of January, in the City of Houston alone, there was an average of about 300,000 active warrants in the court's system. Some defendants have multiple warrants.
How can I find out if I have warrants?
For Houston Municipal Court warrants, dial Houston's Helpline at 3-1-1, visit the website at www.houstontx.gov/courts or visit any City of Houston Municipal Court location (see chart below). For information about warrants issued out of the Harris County Justice Courts, visit the Justice Court's website at www.jp.hctx.net. Individuals with warrants in jurisdictions other than the City of Houston and Harris County Justice Courts, should contact those jurisdictions for information about how to clear outstanding warrants.
What are my options if I find out I do have warrants?
You may pay the fine and court costs, or post a bond and have your case(s) reset for a new court date. You may also seek legal advice from an attorney. You may come in and speak with a Judge about a payment plan application or community service.
If I come to court to pay, will I be arrested?
No, defendants are encouraged to come in voluntarily to resolve cases during the Warrant Round-Up and at any time to speak with a Judge or Prosecutor.
Will there be an amnesty offered to reduce the cost of any of the fines or fees?
Not at this time. If your cases have not yet been adjudicated, you can speak with a Prosecutor regarding a plea bargain.
If I want to pay for my warrants, what are my payment options?
Payment options for warrants issued by the City of Houston Municipal Courts are as follows:
ONLINE - http://www.houstontx.gov/courts/ticket_payments.html
BY PHONE - Call 713.221.0288 (24-hour payment line)
BY MAIL - Municipal Courts Dept., P.O. Box 4996, Houston, TX 77210-4996
WESTERN UNION (use code: Ticket Texas)
IN PERSON - at any of the six court locations listed: