How Warrants Are Issued in Farmers Branch Municipal Court For Tickets
The Warrant Process In Farmers Branch
The warrant process in Farmers Branch can be confusing to say the least. How is Farmers Branch Municipal Court able to issue a warrant for a person’s arrest? What the the procedures to remove the warrant? Can you still protect your record after a warrant is issued? All of these questions are relevant after a Farmers Branch ticket goes into warrant status. This article intends to help the reader understand the warrant process in Farmers Branch and what to do after a warrant is issued. If you would like to discuss your cases in Farmers Branch Municipal Court with an experienced law firm, click here or call us today at 214-321-4105.
HOW IS A WARRANT ISSUED IN FARMERS BRANCH?
Warrants are controlled by the procedures contained in Chapter 45 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This chapter give all municipal courts including Farmers Branch Municipal Court direction on how to issue warrants once a case becomes past due. The basics are that a case cannot be put into active warrant until it has become 10 days past due. The reason why 10 days must pass is due to the “mailbox rule.” The mailbox rule states that you can send documents to the court by mail. If it is sent by mail, then the court has up to 10 days to receive it. If it is received within 10 days, it is as if the court actually received it on the date of the post mark. So for example, if you send a document to Farmers Branch Municipal Court on January 1, and it is received on January 8, then the document was actually received by the court on January 1.
Once 10 days passes, then a court can begin the warrant process. The court will create a complaint in accordance with article 45.019 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. That document must contain the following:
Art. 45.019. REQUISITES OF COMPLAINT. (a) A complaint is sufficient, without regard to its form, if it substantially satisfies the following requisites:
(1) it must be in writing;
(2) it must commence “In the name and by the authority of the State of Texas”;
(3) it must state the name of the accused, if known, or if unknown, must include a reasonably definite description of the accused;
(4) it must show that the accused has committed an offense against the law of this state, or state that the affiant has good reason to believe and does believe that the accused has committed an offense against the law of this state;
(5) it must state the date the offense was committed as definitely as the affiant is able to provide;
(6) it must bear the signature or mark of the affiant; and
(7) it must conclude with the words “Against the peace and dignity of the State” and, if the offense charged is an offense only under a municipal ordinance, it may also conclude with the words “Contrary to the said ordinance”.
(b) A complaint filed in justice court must allege that the offense was committed in the county in which the complaint is made.
(c) A complaint filed in municipal court must allege that the offense was committed in the territorial limits of the municipality in which the complaint is made.
(d) A complaint may be sworn to before any officer authorized to administer oaths.
(e) A complaint in municipal court may be sworn to before:
(1) the municipal judge;
(2) the clerk of the court or a deputy clerk;
(3) the city secretary; or
(4) the city attorney or a deputy city attorney.
(f) If the defendant does not object to a defect, error, or irregularity of form or substance in a charging instrument before the date on which the trial on the merits commences, the defendant waives and forfeits the right to object to the defect, error, or irregularity. Nothing in this article prohibits a trial court from requiring that an objection to a charging instrument be made at an earlier time.
(g) In a county with a population of more than two million that does not have a county attorney, a complaint for an offense under Section 32.41, Penal Code, must be approved by the district attorney, regardless of whether a collection proceeding is initiated by the district attorney under Section 32.41(e), Penal Code.
Next, the court will submit this document along with a copy of the citation to the sitting judge with an arrest warrant. The judge will review all this documentation for approval of the warrant. Once he or she approves the documentation, then a warrant for arrest will be signed by the judge. That warrant is then reported to all arresting agencies.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A WARRANT IS ISSUED
After a warrant is issued, it is important to understand what happens if you do not handle it properly. If you fail to hire a lawyer and simply pay the ticket off it becomes a permanent conviction on your record. This law was passed to make it easier on courts to take your money and close the case. Basically it is built on profit for Farmers Branch Municipal Court at the expense of your record. Article 27.14 of The Code Of Criminal Procedure Contains the authority for courts to report your payment as a conviction. That article states the following:
Art. 27.14. PLEA OF GUILTY OR NOLO CONTENDERE IN MISDEMEANOR. (a) A plea of “guilty” or a plea of “nolo contendere” in a misdemeanor case may be made either by the defendant or his counsel in open court; in such case, the defendant or his counsel may waive a jury, and the punishment may be assessed by the court either upon or without evidence, at the discretion of the court.
(b) A defendant charged with a misdemeanor for which the maximum possible punishment is by fine only may, in lieu of the method provided in Subsection (a) of this article, mail or deliver in person to the court a plea of “guilty” or a plea of “nolo contendere” and a waiver of jury trial. The defendant may also request in writing that the court notify the defendant, at the address stated in the request, of the amount of an appeal bond that the court will approve. If the court receives a plea and waiver before the time the defendant is scheduled to appear in court, the court shall dispose of the case without requiring a court appearance by the defendant. If the court receives a plea and waiver after the time the defendant is scheduled to appear in court but at least five business days before a scheduled trial date, the court shall dispose of the case without requiring a court appearance by the defendant. The court shall notify the defendant either in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the amount of any fine assessed in the case and, if requested by the defendant, the amount of an appeal bond that the court will approve. The defendant shall pay any fine assessed or give an appeal bond in the amount stated in the notice before the 31st day after receiving the notice.
(c) In a misdemeanor case for which the maximum possible punishment is by fine only, payment of a fine or an amount accepted by the court constitutes a finding of guilty in open court as though a plea of nolo contendere had been entered by the defendant and constitutes a waiver of a jury trial in writing.
(d) If written notice of an offense for which maximum possible punishment is by fine only or of a violation relating to the manner, time, and place of parking has been prepared, delivered, and filed with the court and a legible duplicate copy has been given to the defendant, the written notice serves as a complaint to which the defendant may plead “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “nolo contendere.” If the defendant pleads “not guilty” to the offense or fails to appear based on the written notice, a complaint shall be filed that conforms to the requirements of Chapter 45 of this code, and that complaint serves as an original complaint. A defendant may waive the filing of a sworn complaint and elect that the prosecution proceed on the written notice of the charged offense if the defendant agrees in writing with the prosecution, signs the agreement, and files it with the court.
This code section has a huge impact on people every day. Many do not want to hire a lawyer because they think that they are saving money by doing so. However, this is not true. As an example, we normally charge around $100.00 to lift a warrant and represent a person in Farmers Branch Municipal Court for a no insurance ticket. In the alternative, if a person simply goes down to the window to pay that same ticket off and wants to save the $100.00 they will then be charged an additional $750.00 through the Department of Public Safety. This is the surcharge associated with a conviction for that type of offense. Every offense has a separate civil penalty associated with it either in the way of points or automatic surcharges. For a further description of the points and surcharge system see below:
Points are assessed for traffic convictions. Once the conviction has been added to the driver record, points are assigned and remain on the driver record for three years from the date of conviction.
- Two points are assessed for a Texas or out-of-state traffic conviction.
- Three points are assessed for a Texas or out-of-state traffic conviction that resulted in a crash.
NOTE: Points are not assessed for individuals who take defensive driving.
Individuals who have six or more points on their driver record are assessed a surcharge every year they maintain six or more points. Surcharges amounts are:
- $100 for the first six points on a driver record.
- $25 for each additional point after six.
AUTOMATIC SURCHARGE PROGRAM
Individuals who receive a conviction for one of the offenses listed in the chart below will pay an annual surcharge for three years from the date of conviction. Points are not assessed for these offenses because the surcharge is automatic upon conviction.
Convictions are added to the driver record once DPS receives notification from the court. As a result, there may be a delay between the date of the actual conviction and when the conviction is added to a driver record.
|Type of Conviction||Surcharge*|
|1st Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
Texas or out-of state conviction for DWI, Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter
Texas or out-of state conviction for DWI, Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter
|DWI with Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.16 or More
Texas or out-of state conviction
|No Insurance||Up to $250|
|Driving While License Invalid (DWLI)
Driver license is canceled, suspended, denied or revoked
|No Driver License
No driver license or commercial driver license, or an expired license
|Up to $100|
|*The surcharge amount is assessed every year for three years.|
No Insurance and No Driver License Convictions
Individuals convicted of No Insurance but who had insurance at the time of the offense can submit proof of insurance to DPS. The suspension for the No Insurance offense will be waived but the individual must still pay the surcharge.
TALK TO A LAWYER ABOUT YOUR WARRANTS IN FARMERS BRANCH
The bottom line is that you probably need to talk to a lawyer once a warrant is issued for your arrest out of Farmers Branch Municipal Court. There are many moving parts once you are in the warrant system. An attorney for warrants in Farmers Branch can help you understand how to navigate through all the possible pitfalls that lie ahead. Feel free to call our office to discuss your warrants in Farmers Branch.