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Missouri City to participate In statewide warrant roundup

Missouri City will soon take part in a Statewide Warrant Roundup, allowing offenders to settle their fines without going to jail. Payments will be accepted in person and by phone beginning now through March 10.

The roundup takes place March 2 through March 10. Individuals who do not settle their fines risk arrest by the Missouri City Police Department at their homes, schools and businesses.

“Even in cases that are misdemeanors, a warrant can be issued for the offender’s arrest if they do not show up in court,” Municipal Court Director Cathy Haney said. “While fines are generally about $200, if one is not paid within 30 days, the amount can quickly increase by more than $100 from additional fees assessed for nonpayment.” Haney went on to explain that if a fine has to be handled by a collection agency, “the offender is charged an additional 30 percent.”

To pay a fine in Missouri City:

•  Call 281-403-8669 and pay with a credit card

•  Go to Missouri City Municipal Court at 3845 Cartwright Rd. Extended hours will be in effect at the Court during the Roundup and will include a 24-hour opportunity to make a payment: a drop-box located to the left of the Court entrance.

“This time of year after residents get their tax refunds is a good time for people with outstanding warrants to go ahead and take care of them,” Haney said.

By failing to settle fines, individuals may not be able to renew their driver’s license and they are subject to being pulled over by police in other jurisdictions statewide through a system that tracks outstanding warrants.

Overall, the warrant roundup program has been successful in the “Show Me City”.

In 2012, Missouri City cleared 400 bonds and netted $81,121 in cash and cash bonds during the Statewide Warrant Roundup, Haney said. With the amount of jail time served, known as face value, the City’s roundup effort totaled more than $163,603. Among the payments received last year was one for a case dating back to 1988.

In 2011, the City cleared 381 warrants and netted $86,749, Haney said. The collections include monies paid for fines, court costs and bonds. With the amount of jail time served, the City’s roundup effort totaled more than $141,000. Most of the 381 warrants that were resolved involved traffic cases. One notable offense, an alcohol-related case dating back to 1998, was among those cleared.

In 2010, the City cleared 281 warrants and netted $63,000, Haney said.  Most of the 281 warrants that were resolved involved traffic offenses, city code violations and school truancies. In addition, several older cases were cleared off the books, allowing the Municipal Court staff to concentrate on newer warrants.

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