Articles Posted in Arrest Warrant

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While it may seem as if it is cheaper to simply pay the fine for your traffic ticket once you receive it, it is actually cheaper in the long run if you have an experienced attorney take care of it for you. Let me explain why.

Let’s say you are pulled over for speeding (I use this as my example because it is probably the most frequent thing for which people are stopped). The citation itself will provide you with an opportunity to take care of the ticket by signing the back of it, and mailing in the appropriate dollar fine. This will ensure that the ticket will no longer be outstanding (and therefore no risk of a warrant for your arrest being issued). But by signing the ticket and paying the associated fine, you are pleading guilty to the infraction, and a number of other negative things occur as a result (that you are not made aware of).

When you simply pay the associated fine for the speeding ticket, it will then go on your driving record by way of a ‘points’ system. A certain number of points (which should really be thought of as ‘strikes’ against you) are put on your record based on the type of infraction. Speeding typically will get you two (2) points, unless you are pulled over by a highway patrolman, in which case three (3) points are assessed. As these points begin to accumulate, your automobile insurance will consistently raise your insurance premium (because if there is one thing that an insurance company is good at, its raising your rates; and they are always looking for an excuse to do just that). In addition, it is also possible (depending on how frequently you get pulled over) that you could have your license suspended or revoked for several months up to a year. Reinstating your license thereafter is very time consuming and costly.

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The attorney does this by working out a negotiated settlement (i.e. plea bargain) with the local prosecutor. But that only happens after your attorney has done the necessary work to make this possible. Depending on the circumstances and the type of ticket you received, this can be done relatively quick.

If you are pulled over for having committed a traffic violation (speeding, failure to use turn signal, lane change violation, etc.), you have a right to fight the ticket in court. The prosecutor will have to prove that you in fact violated the laws of the state, and convince the judge of this contention. You of course have the ability to offer counter-arguments in your defense. But this course of action can take a lot of time, and still end with you being held guilty of the infraction. Another option would be to simply sign the back of the ticket, which allows you to plead guilty, and simply pay the fine. This certainly takes care of the ticket, but there are consequences for doing this as well. If you do nothing but pay the fine, the state will assess ‘points’ against your driving record. These points should really be thought of as ‘strikes,’ because they have a negative effect.

If several points accumulate over time, a couple of bad things can happen. First, your automobile insurance will certainly rise, as you will end up paying a higher monthly premium. This is because your insurance carrier will label you as a ‘risky’ driver, and the cost of insuring you against things like accidents will be pushed up. Secondly, there is a chance that you could have your driver’s license suspended or revoked. The state does this in order to send a signal to those people who get a bunch of tickets over a short period of time. And the process to have your license reinstated can be costly and timely.

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If you receive multiple traffic tickets over a condensed time frame, then it two negative things could happen: 1) your insurance premiums could go up substantially; and 2) you could be labeled by the state as a ‘Repeat Offender’. Repeat offenders can have their driver’s license suspended, or worse, could face jail time. But this is why it is so important to retain the services of a law firm that understands how to properly handle these matters.

When you are pulled over by a police officer for a moving-violation (let’s say your garden variety Missouri speeding ticket), the infraction will carry a certain number of ‘points’ against your record. These are not the good kind of points that you score in a game. Rather, ‘points’ should be viewed as ‘strikes’ against your driving record. The more points/strikes you accumulate over time, the higher your automobile insurance will rise as a result. This means steeper and steeper monthly premiums. But if you receive several of these citations for speeding in excess of the posted limit, the state will assume that you are not getting the message (that driving above the speed limit is prohibited). In general, if you have more than one or two such violations in a twelve (12) to eighteen (18) month period of time, you can be labeled a Repeat Offender. This can have serious consequences for your ability to keep your license, you risk jail time if there are any other future offenses, and could even have an impact on your job (especially one of the primary tasks in your employment is the operation of heavy equipment or driving).

But again, this need not be the outcome for you. The affordable St. Louis traffic ticket defense attorneys at Brinkman & Alter, LLC can make sure that the tickets you receive do not turn into the headaches described above. Our team of lawyers will work hard to reduce the moving-violation you have been charged with to a non-moving violation. This will ensure that you will not be assessed any points against your driving record, thus keeping your insurance rates in check and your record clean of infractions. This is done by working closely with the local prosecutor and/or judge to reach an agreement so that the ticket is handled in an efficient, quick, and relatively painless fashion.

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You can, but the chances are very good that you will be arrested instead. The arrest warrant that was issued by the judge is a court order that requires a police officer to arrest you on the spot. So even if you are being a good citizen and taking care of your debts to society, you will still be taken under custody.

When you receive a traffic citation from a police officer, the ticket will indicate a fair amount of information. Included on this document will be your court date. If you pay your fine before this date, or hire an attorney to take care of it for you, or you simply make an appearance in front of the judge in order to argue against it, you will be okay. But if you do not make an appearance on the court date, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest.

Once this happens, you are at risk of getting thrown in jail wherever you go. So if you get pulled over again, they officer will run your license, see that there is a warrant for you, and then arrest you. Or if you decided to simply go take care of the ticket by showing up on some later date, you will get arrested. This is not really a risk you want to take.

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A bench warrant is an order by a judge for your arrest if you don’t show up to your court appearance. In essence, it is the judge (sitting on his/her bench) deciding that you have shown such contempt for the court that you should be arrested for it. But even if this happens, there are still things you can do to avoid further trouble.

Bench warrants are useful devices for the court because they give the person against whom the warrant was issued an incentive to do what the court wants. So let’s say you have been cited with reckless driving, and you are supposed to appear in court roughly thirty (30) days later. But instead of showing up at the predetermined time, you forget to go, or you have to go to work. Since you did not appear (or have an attorney appear on your behalf), the judge will issue the warrant for your arrest. Once the warrant is out there, you could be arrested at any time. The police may come to your residence, your place of work, or of course if you are pulled over for something entirely unrelated (like a speed limit infraction) the officer will undoubtedly run your driver’s license and see that there is a warrant for your arrest. At this point, you will be booked and jailed. The fines necessary to get you out are going to be very high, and then there is the matter of handling the underlying citation (reckless driving), which will be another fine on top of that.

If that does not sound like the best way to handle this kind of situation, then I would have to agree. A far better course of action would have been to hire an attorney right after you received the citation for reckless driving. An experienced attorney could have negotiated with the prosecutor to get the ticket reduced (or thrown out altogether, depending on the circumstances). Or if for whatever reason you failed to make an appearance at your court date, and a bench warrant was issued for your arrest, an criminal defense lawyer could have worked out a deal with the court to have the warrant pulled, get the underlying charge lessened, and got you on your way.

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Then chances are very good that a warrant will be issued for your arrest. But there are things that can be done about that, so long as you hire the right attorney. Let me explain how it works:

When you are pulled over for speeding (or any kind of moving violation, like improper lane change or failing to signal), the police officer will in most cases give you a citation (i.e. a speeding ticket). This document will provide you with all the pertinent information you will need to know. For instance, it will state the time and date of the event, what exactly you are being cited for, the officer’s name and badge number, how to pay for the ticket, and when your court date is set for. Most tickets encourage you to simply pay the driving infraction in lieu of attending court. But if you wish to contest the ticket, you may of course appear in front of the judge (usually set in the evening on a weekday) and make an argument as to why you should not have been pulled over in the first place. This is your right, and you may exercise it if you want.

But if no action is taken by you (like you don’t hire an attorney after getting the ticket so that the attorney can get the citation reduced to a lesser charge, or contest the ticket in front of the judge), and you do not pay the fine or appear in court, then the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. This means that a document is sent out to all available municipalities making them aware of the fact that a debt to state has not been paid, and that you should be arrested. So if you are subsequently pulled over for some other moving violation, the officer will run your driver’s license, see that you have an outstanding warrant, and instead of issuing a new ticket, he/she will simply arrest you on the spot.