This is the 6th year for the annual "Great Texas Warrant Roundup" and thousands of active warrants have been issued. Municipal Court Judge Maria Casanova says law enforcement agencies will do what they can to clear them.
"We have six locations in the city of Houston, six agency courts that people can make themselves available to come in and talk to a prosecutor and a judge to try to dispose of their warrant cases. There are many options available to people, prior to being arrested. But once we have you — or the police officers have you — there's very little options."
That means anyone who has an outstanding traffic, parking or city ordinance ticket, could face being arrested if they don't pay prior to Saturday the 25th:
"And our collective to everyone in the state is to take care of your delinquent cases. Take care of your warrants, come in before the date that we start looking for people, to take care of your cases in a fashion that would be best for you."
Judge Casanova was joined by many local law enforcement agencies that will take part in the roundup. This is Houston Police Capt. Brian Bennett:
"Our objective today is to encourage everybody, who has outstanding warrants, to take care of those warrants as soon as possible. No one wants to undergo the embarrassment, or the inconvenience, of being arrested in front of friends, family or co-workers. That being said, beginning February 25, the Houston Police Department is going to start sending out teams of officers to aggressively seek out and arrest individuals with outstanding warrants. No one wants to undergo that embarrassment. So please, take care of those warrants before the warrant roundup begins."
Capt. Bennett says there is no amnesty period. Last month in Houston alone, about 300,000 active warrants were waiting to be processed. Some agencies across the state have said they stand to generate millions of dollars, but Gwendolyn Goines with Municipal Courts says:
"It's really not a matter of how much money we're hoping to raise. The thing for all the jurisdictions' goal is case resolution. In many cases, these citations are very old, and maybe it's a case where someone has moved out of the jurisdiction. They're just not aware. So this is an opportunity for increased awareness by all of us doing it statewide at the same time."
The roundup is being conducted during this time of year because many violators are getting their tax return check — and they may have extra money to pay their fine.