HOUSTON, Texas – The City of Houston’s Municipal Courts Department and Houston Police Department (HPD) will be among 300 law enforcement jurisdictions across Texas that will participate in the 2014 Great Texas Warrant Round-Up. For the 3rd year in a row, HPD will be assisted by the Texas Attorney General’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit to search for individuals with outstanding warrants beginning Saturday, March 1, 2014. Neighboring jurisdictions joining this statewide initiative as regional participants include, Harris, Galveston, Fort Bend, and Waller Counties. A complete list of regional participants is listed below.
“This is by far the largest concerted law enforcement effort in Texas,” said Director and Presiding Judge Barbara E. Hartle. “We do this program simultaneously with other jurisdictions to bring about greater public awareness, which will hopefully encourage someone to resolve their case or cases before they are arrested,” said Judge Hartle.
Once the Warrant Round-up period begins March 1st, 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. Additionally, a special task force will focus solely on locating defendants with outstanding warrants through a license plate recognition program and whose parked vehicle has been documented multiple times at specific locations.
“With the assistance of law enforcement, we fully intend to use the entire scope of our resources, and we want to make everyone aware that ignoring your court matter is not an acceptable practice,” stated Judge Hartle. “The License Plate Recognition program has been in force since September of 2011 and has been extremely helpful in allowing us to locate scofflaws,” she added.
As the regional coordinator of this effort for the past eight years, the City of Houston Municipal Courts Department has thousands of active warrants it is seeking to clear. Municipal Courts officials are encouraging defendants to take advantage of the options available to resolve outstanding warrants. There will be no amnesty offered during the Warrant Round-Up effort.
Notices are being mailed to all Houston Municipal Court defendants with active warrants. Citizens with warrants in jurisdictions other than the City of Houston should contact those jurisdictions for information about how to clear those warrants. A complete list of participating regional partners can be found at www.houstontx.gov/courts.
For more information about warrants or citations visit the website at www.houstontx.gov/courts or contact City’s Helpline at 3-1-1 or 713-837-0311, if outside the City of Houston.
2014 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 all the time. 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. For warrants issued out of surrounding municipal and justice courts, contact the Court in that particular jurisdiction for further information.
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.
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.
Will there be an amnesty offered to reduce the cost of any of the fines or fees?
Not at this time.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, checks, money orders, American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa.
After I pay, how long will it take for the information to be removed from DPS records?
The Department of Public Safety will clear holds on driver’s licenses within 7 to 10 business days.
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 – www.houstontx.gov/courts/OnlineTicketPayments.html
– BY PHONE – Call 713.221.0288 (24 hour payment line)
– BY MAIL – Municipal Courts, P.O. Box 4996, Houston, TX 77210-4996
– WESTERN UNION (use code: Ticket Texas)
For payment options for warrants in other jurisdictions, contact the appropriate court for that area.