College Station Municipal Court doesn’t have to be a scary place

Warrant Amnesty runs Oct. 15-26

As a judge, I see a number of people after they’ve been arrested and are in jail on an outstanding warrant. Often, they are very happy to see me since they associate me with releasing them from jail. I’ll ask them why they didn’t come to College Station Municipal Court in the first place and the response I hear so many times is either:

  1. “I didn’t think ignoring a ticket could get you arrested,” or
  2. “I was saving up money and, until I had the money to pay the fine, I wasn’t going to court to make my plea.”

Most Class-C misdemeanors are handled through citizens receiving a ticket rather than being arrested. These include offenses like a minor in possession of alcohol, disorderly conduct due to noise, assault, theft under fifty dollars, and most traffic offenses and city ordinance violations — all criminal offenses in Texas. When you sign the ticket promising to appear, that signature acts as your promise to appear in court, versus being arrested and posting a bond guaranteeing your appearance.

My strongest hope as judge is to help make College Station Municipal Court an understandable, fair place for citizens to have their cases heard, as opposed to a legal obstacle course. One of the best ways we try to do this is the Warrant Amnesty Program. It’s been so popular that we offer it twice a year, and most other Brazos County courts participate, as well. Our goal is for people to come to court to have their cases heard and not be arrested. During Warrant Amnesty (Oct. 15-26), anyone who has an active warrant for their arrest can come to the court, take care of their case completely, and I’ll waive the $50 warrant fee attached to each of their cases under warrant.

We call defendants who possess active warrants urging them to come to court, our marshals send postcards, and all warrants are online at cstx.gov/warrants. Defendants can even call us at 979.764.3683 to help them through the process. We have coordinators who work with defendants on a payment plan, should they need one, and community service hours are available for those who are indigent and unable to pay a fine.

I can’t stress this enough: We prefer that people come to College Station Municipal Court — and not be arrested.

The individuals I so often see in jail end up there because they didn’t think they would be arrested or were too scared to come see us. They didn’t take advantage of the many services we provide.  Never hesitate to contact College Station Municipal Court.  We’ll explain the procedures and work with you to every extent under the law.

Court doesn’t have to be a scary place.

By the way, following the Warrant Amnesty period is the Warrant Roundup (Oct. 29-Nov.9), when you could be arrested at any time for your outstanding warrant.  Now, THAT would be scary.

Ed Spillane
Ed Spillane | Presiding Judge
.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s