Have you been issued a traffic ticket in the City of Dallas? If you don’t make an appearance with the City of Dallas Municipal Court, either by requesting a court date or agreeing to pay the fine (which you should NEVER do… paying the fine results in a conviction which can affect your driving record!), a warrant may be issued for your arrest. When a Dallas Police Officer issues you a citation, your signature on the ticket isn’t
a plea of “guilty.” Rather, it is your promise to appear within 21 days of the date on which your ticket was issued. In essence, your signature serves as your appearance bond. Believe it or not, an officer can arrest you for speeding if he chooses to do so, rather than giving you a ticket. Your failure to appear within the 21 day period is a violation of your promise to appear.
After the 21st day, your traffic ticket goes into alias status. Because you have forfeited your bond, a new bond is required before you can request a court date. At some point after your ticket goes into alias status, a judge will sign an arrest warrant. Once signed, this arrest warrant authorizes any peace officer in the State of Texas to take you into custody. You are subject to arrest at your home, office, during a routine traffic stop, or at any other time. Traffic ticket warrants are valid not only in the jurisdiction in which the are issued, but can subject you to arrest throughout the State of Texas. On February 25th, the 2012 Great Texas Warrant Roundup begins. Law enforcement agencies, police officers, constables, sheriff’s deputies, and other court personnel from 265 agencies throughout the state will join forces to target tens of thousands of Texans who have warrants for their arrest outstanding. If you have warrant for a traffic ticket, city ordinance violation, or any criminal case, police officers will be actively looking for you.
Texas Penal Code Section 38.10. BAIL JUMPING AND FAILURE TO APPEAR. (a) A person lawfully released from custody, with or without bail, on condition that he subsequently appear commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly fails to appear in accordance with the terms of his release.
(b) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the appearance was incident to community supervision, parole, or an intermittent sentence.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor had a reasonable excuse for his failure to appear in accordance with the terms of his release.
(d) Except as provided in Subsections (e) and (f), an offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
(e) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor if the offense for which the actor’s appearance was required is punishable by fine only.
(f) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree if the offense for which the actor’s appearance was required is classified as a felony.
Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Renumbered from Penal Code Sec. 38.11 and amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.