How to Get a Warrant Lifted in Texas

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The law in Texas can be quite overwhelming for those with an active warrant. As soon as a case transitions into warrant status, it almost seems like the law is conspiring against you, even if it’s just a warrant for an unpaid traffic ticket.

Whether you’re facing an outstanding warrant or simply trying to educate yourself on the matter so that you can avoid its trials and tribulations in the long run, this guide is for you! Read on for much-needed insights on how to get a warrant lifted in Texas.

How to Resolve an Open Warrant in Texas

You can resolve an active warrant in Texas by paying off the warrant, doing the jail time, posting a cash bond, or hiring an attorney, with the latter being the most recommended option.

Types of Warrants in Texas

There are two types of warrants issued in Texas: arrest warrants and bench warrants. Each type is intended for a certain group of misdemeanors or crimes. Also, the arrest-making process for a bench warrant is different from that of an arrest warrant.

Arrest Warrant

Arrest warrants are typically linked to criminal activities. When one is issued, law enforcement officers start purposely seeking out the perpetrator.

An arrest warrant cannot be issued without probable cause, though. If a law enforcement officer thinks you’ve committed a crime, they can’t issue a warrant for your arrest without submitting an affidavit, which is then reviewed by a judge.

If the judge finds the reasoning (probable cause) in the affidavit convincing, the arrest warrant is issued. If the judge isn’t convinced for whatever reason, the affidavit is dismissed, nullifying the warrant request.

Bench Warrant

Bench warrants are issued to those effectuating court violations. In other words, if you break any of the court’s rules, a bench warrant will be issued with your name on it.

As soon as a bench warrant is issued, the name of the defendant is added to law enforcement databases. Unlike an arrest warrant, though, law enforcement officers don’t purposely seek out bench warrant defendants.

It goes without saying, however, that if the defendant is stopped by a law enforcement officer for other violations (e.g., traffic violation), they’ll most likely be taken into custody until they appear in court for their bench warrant.

Some violations that lead to a bench warrant include missing a court date, failure to pay alimony or child support, or disparaging the court.

How to Resolve a Warrant in Texas

There are quite a few ways through which you can lift an active warrant in Texas. Depending on each individual case, certain options could be better than others.

Without careful consideration and sound legal advice, you might end up choosing the wrong option for your case and making matters worse.

That being said, if you have an active warrant against you, it’s of the utmost importance to work with an experienced lawyer to figure out the best way to resolve the warrant.

With that out of the way, here’s how to lift a warrant in Texas:

1. Pay Off the Warrant

If you’re facing an active warrant for a Class C misdemeanor, like a traffic ticket, you can resolve the warrant by simply paying off the ticket amount.

Keep in mind, however, that paying off the ticket amount equates to an admission of guilt in the eyes of the court. In other words, it’s equivalent to doing jail time!

This begs the question of whether or not you should actually pay off the warrant.

Seeing as paying off the warrant at a court window could lead to further penalties, including an increase in surcharges, most lawyers wouldn’t recommend doing it.

2. Do the Jail Time

Another way you can lift the warrant that’s active against you is to simply do the jail time. If you’re short on money, this option might seem the most tempting, but there are some caveats!

Accepting the penalty and doing the jail time can lead to notable surcharges and suspensions. As a result, you can end up owing more than you originally did even after doing the jail time.

On top of that, doing time will most likely affect your insurance premium as well as your driving record. That said, this option is also not recommended by lawyers.

3. Post a Cash Bond

A third way you can lift an active warrant is by requesting a new court date, which comes at the expense of posting a cash bond. A cash bond is typically the full amount of the ticket, plus fines.

In some cases, the fines can be so high that they make posting the cash bond very challenging. This is, in fact, the main drawback to this approach. However, assuming you’re able to post your case’s cash bond, this approach is a lot more welcome than the previous two.

This approach is often recommended because it allows you to be in court to negotiate the terms of the prosecution. For instance, if the warrant against you is linked to a traffic violation and you don’t want the violation to affect your driving record, you can negotiate this in court after posting a cash bond.

Bear in mind that if you set a new court date and miss it, the money you paid as a cash bond is going to be forfeited. In turn, the case returns to warrant status.

Besides, if you do manage to negotiate the terms of the prosecution successfully, the prosecutor will most likely try to keep the cash bond you’ve posted in return.

4. Hire an Attorney

The fourth and most recommended option is to hire an experienced attorney who can negotiate in court and post a surety bond on your behalf.

Let’s face it; unless you know the ins and outs of the law in Texas, you won’t be able to navigate your way out of an active warrant. So, your best bet is to hire a lawyer.

You might be thinking, “Hiring an attorney probably costs a fortune.” It doesn’t!

If we’re talking about a Class C misdemeanor, you don’t have to worry about paying your lawyer a fortune. In fact, a lawyer will probably cost you less than the total amount of the ticket you’re required to pay at court.

For instance, if there’s an active warrant against you due to a traffic violation, a lawyer will most likely charge $100-$150 to deal with the matter on your behalf.

On the other hand, if you go about the case without a lawyer, the court may require you to pay upwards of $300 as a cash bond.

Another reason why hiring a lawyer is the way to go when you have an active warrant is that the lawyer will appear on your behalf in court and do all of the negotiating for you.

We’re not saying that hiring an attorney will make your case disappear, but it will definitely help mitigate the damage. If there’s any legal insufficiency regarding the case, a lawyer can help fight it and possibly get it dismissed!

If the lawyer is unable to get the case dismissed, you’ll at least be spared the hassle and cost of surcharges and insurance increases. Not to mention that your warrant will be lifted.

Last but certainly not least, hiring a lawyer will help acquaint you with the state’s legal system. A lawyer will answer all of your legal questions and provide you with the insights needed to make an informed decision.

How to Know If You Have an Active Warrant

If you’re not sure whether or not there’s an active warrant against you, there are several ways you can find out. Note, however, that depending on the entity that issued the warrant (i.e., country, city, state, or federal court), some of these methods may not work.

1. Online Local Records

The easiest way to check if you have an open warrant against you is to check the state’s local records online. Warrant information should be stored there. If not, check your county or court’s records.

Please bear in mind that such sites typically end with .org or .gov domains. If you come across a website that doesn’t have any of these domains, proceed with caution!

2. Bail Bondsman

Another easy way to check is to get in touch with a bail bondsman and have them check with your local court. A bail bondsman can also go to the court and find the required information through the court’s computers.

3. U.S. Circuit Court

You can check if you have an open warrant by simply calling the U.S. Circuit Court. While this is a surefire way to know if there’s a warrant out for you, we wouldn’t recommend it because you might run the risk of being taken into custody since you’ll have to identify yourself.

4. Local PD

Checking with your local police department is another effective method, but it’s quite risky. Upon contacting the police, you’ll be asked to identify yourself.

If there actually is a warrant out for you, they can easily trace your location through the call and take you into custody. This is likely to happen if it’s an arrest warrant, not a bench warrant.

5. Warrant Attorney

Apart from checking online records, the safest, most effective way to check if you have an active warrant is to get in touch with an experienced warrant attorney.

An attorney will call up the court’s clerk or visit the court themselves if they have to in order to check if there’s a warrant out for you. If there is, they’ll tell you how to deal with the situation in the best possible way.

In Summary

Understandably, finding out there’s an active warrant against you can be frightening, even if it’s for a Class C misdemeanor.

Yes, there are multiple ways to get a warrant lifted, but choosing the wrong approach can make matters worse, which is why the best course of action is to refer to an experienced lawyer.

Not only will your lawyer appear in court on your behalf and carry out all of the negotiations with the prosecutor, but they’ll also try to dismiss the case if there’s any legal insufficiency.

If your attorney can’t get the case dismissed, they’ll try to prevent or at least reduce surcharges and insurance increases, in addition to getting the warrant lifted.

Unless you have a law degree, you probably won’t be able to navigate your way out of an active warrant without some sort of hassle. So, lawyer up!