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  1. #1
    ScofflawIGuess is offline Junior Member
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    Serving Time Instead of Fines (Tx)

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Texas - though I currently live out of state.

    I have a couple of traffic warrants on me from Texas. My current driver's license in another state has not been suspended so far as I know, but I have received a certified letter on one of the warrants threatening to do notify my state and suspend, or send to a collection agency, or both, if I don't pay up and/or appear by Friday, March 30.

    One warrant is from Irving, speeding with a seat-belt violation, three years ago. It started at a little under $500 but with all the costs and penalties is now about $820. Almost a thousand bucks for a traffic ticket!

    Another is for a handicapped parking ticket in Midland about 13 months ago, started at $500 and grown to at least $640.

    Did call one lawyer in Midland who told me they are pretty much death on handicapped parking and I'm pretty much S.O.L. though I could hire him to go out and see if the space was properly marked (I know it was), etc.

    Anyway I owe something around $1,500 for two frickin' tickets and don't really want to part with that much cash. I've got some time off from work coming anyway, and am thinking about just driving over to Tx and doing the time.

    Does anybody know what the "exchange rate" for jail time on Texas fines is?

    The lawyer in Midland said that the last client he had do this, a couple months ago, it was $100 credit a day but said it may be different in Irving. I checked on the web and it looks like the Texas Criminal Procedure Code calls this a "Capias Pro Fine" and sets the punishment at one "period" for every $100 owed but that a period could be as little as eight hours, but as many as 24.

    And one guy who served out a fine in Frisco, Tex., a couple years ago said they only gave $50 credit a day in that town, though the jail there he said wasn't all that bad.

    So I was confused.

    Has anybody served out a fine? Is it $100 a day, or is the "period" something else?

    A couple more questions: If I turn myself in to one of the two jails and there is a warrant out in the other town too -- which there is -- can I just serve it all in one place? There's no danger they're gonna cuff me into a prison van and ship me across the state to do the other term, is there? And finally, since this is technically jail time but still for a Class C misdemeanor, does it go on my record any different than if I just coughed up the cash?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by ScofflawIGuess; 03-16-2012 at 07:24 AM.
  2. #2
    startedone is offline Member
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    You can't trade days in jail for $$$ values. These are all infractions, right? No jail time for these-judge cannot do that really.

    You do know it costs $$ to jail you ... it makes no economic sense to do this.

    Maybe community service?? I don't know about that--just tossing it out. Others might chime in.
  3. #3
    ScofflawIGuess is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by startedone View Post
    You can't trade days in jail for $$$ values. These are all infractions, right? No jail time for these-judge cannot do that really.

    You do know it costs $$ to jail you ... it makes no economic sense to do this.
    Actually, no. Both sets of paper say these are "C misdemeanors," not infractions. I just looked again to be sure. I have heard of infractions in other states, but Tx says these are misdemeanors.

    On the certified letter I got -- the same one threatening to suspend my license in my state, send me to a collection agency, etc. -- it says I will be arrested when I show up on the warrant, if not before. It also adds: "What is 'jail credit'? The City assigns a monetary value for time spent in jail for a City Class C misdemeanor ticket or warrant. A municipal judge determines jail credit as regulated by state law." But it doesn't say how much the credit is!

    Since it says "as regulated by state law," I assume the same would apply if I refuse to pay the fine when turning myself on the Tx warrant in the other city as well.

    I am just trying to find out how much the credit is! If it is $100 per day spent in the clink, I am thinking about doing it. If it is $50 like it was when my friend was in the Frisco jail a couple years back, well, between my two warrants at $1,500 that would be close to a month locked up, which scares me a little.

    You say it makes no economic sense for the court to do this. I agree. But I also think these huge fines for such minor crap don't make any sense either. If each ticket would have been a hundred bucks or so, I would have paid it a long time ago.
  4. #4
    HighwayMan is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScofflawIGuess View Post
    I am just trying to find out how much the credit is!
    Why don't you call the court.
  5. #5
    HighwayMan is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScofflawIGuess View Post
    Almost a thousand bucks for a traffic ticket!
    No.

    $820 for the traffic ticket plus years of ignoring it.
  6. #6
    Mnemosyne is offline Member
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    The TX legislature disagrees with you. These penalties were intentionally set high so as to deter offenders.

    Ask a disabled person if s/he thinks it's "minor crap" to be denied a parking space because your vehicle is parked there illegally.

    Suppose you are involved in a collision, and you suffer a serious head injury that could have been avoided with proper seat belt use. Is that also "minor crap"?

    Quote Originally Posted by ScofflawIGuess View Post
    You say it makes no economic sense for the court to do this. I agree. But I also think these huge fines for such minor crap don't make any sense either. If each ticket would have been a hundred bucks or so, I would have paid it a long time ago.
  7. #7
    CavemanLawyer is offline Senior Member
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    The "going rate" is something set by the Judge that issues the capias pro fine. The amount of $ you "sit out" per day is governed by Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 45.048 and $50 is the minimum rate.

    Most counties that I have seen are $100 but it is entirely up the JP or Municipal judge. Your options are to talk to an attorney in that area, find a fellow ticket dodger who has sat out some fines who may know first hand the rate, or call the court and ask them.

    If you check yourself into one county and serve out that time there is very little chance you will be bench warranted to the next county. It just doesn't happen for a Class C offense.

    Whether you serve out your time or just pay the fine in the first place makes no difference, a class C conviction does not get reported on your criminal history (TCIC/NCIC.)
    Last edited by CavemanLawyer; 03-15-2012 at 09:53 PM.
  8. #8
    ScofflawIGuess is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighwayMan View Post
    Why don't you call the court.
    Actually I had (Irving), two separate times before I ever posted here. Got people who wouldn't, or couldn't help, said it was legal advice, or whatever. Finally called a third time today and got some guy who's brother had just done this and said it's $100 a day, but then kept telling me in the end it's up to the judge so this wasn't official. But I'm pretty sure (see also Caveman Lawyer on here and my reply back to him) they're not going to stick me down to $50 a day, so I am going to do this. I just don't want to pay the huge fines.

    As for you telling me I made this worse by putting it off: yes, I know that. But I can't undo that now.
  9. #9
    ScofflawIGuess is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CavemanLawyer View Post
    The "going rate" is something set by the Judge that issues the capias pro fine. The amount of $ you "sit out" per day is governed by Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 45.048 and $50 is the minimum rate.

    Most counties that I have seen are $100 but it is entirely up the JP or Municipal judge. Your options are to talk to an attorney in that area, find a fellow ticket dodger who has sat out some fines who may know first hand the rate, or call the court and ask them.

    If you check yourself into one county and serve out that time there is very little chance you will be bench warranted to the next county. It just doesn't happen for a Class C offense.

    Whether you serve out your time or just pay the fine in the first place makes no difference, a class C conviction does not get reported on your criminal history (TCIC/NCIC.)
    Caveman, thanks so much for the direct if unofficial answer to my question! I posted to get an answer, not a lecture, and you came through. As I noted just now in my reply to the other guy, I actually had called the Irving court a couple times before posting, and couldn't get a straight answer. Finally got a guy whose brother had just served some fines out and told me it was $100. But even he said it's up to the judge, this isn't official, etc., so they really cover their tracks down there.

    I'm off work for the next three weeks, so I am just going to go down there and sit this out. They told me today I don't have to see a judge to turn myself into the jail so I might actually do it as early as Sunday and just stop worrying about it.

    Also, found out that as of this afternoon there were 36 Class C males and six females sitting out fines in Irving. 42 people! Surprised there are so many!

    Now, Caveman, you did - without committing, I know - make me feel better by saying I probably wouldn't be "bench warranted" from one jail to another. Didn't really relish sitting in some jail van or cop's rear seat for 300 miles or whatever it is. So, are you telling me that realistically one city will just drop the Class C rap if I serve out the first one? Or are you saying at some point I would have to either pay or sit in the second jail, just not be shipped out there? If it is the former, maybe I should go to Midland this weekend. The fine is a little smaller, and since the lawyer out there said it also is $100/day, maybe that is the way to go. I was going to take the hit in Irving first because it is a city jail and Midland's is a county which worried me a little -- also Irving's is the older warrant. But now if realistically I may have to serve only one, why not do the smaller fine???? Anyway, please clarify. Then I'll leave you alone. Thanks again.
  10. #10
    ScofflawIGuess is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mnemosyne View Post
    The TX legislature disagrees with you. These penalties were intentionally set high so as to deter offenders.

    Ask a disabled person if s/he thinks it's "minor crap" to be denied a parking space because your vehicle is parked there illegally.

    Suppose you are involved in a collision, and you suffer a serious head injury that could have been avoided with proper seat belt use. Is that also "minor crap"?
    I follow you, particularly on denying a space to a disabled person IF he or she were truly in need. Overall, though, you and the Legislature haven't totally convinced me that this punishment/penalty isn't overkill. Sorry.
  11. #11
    CavemanLawyer is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScofflawIGuess View Post
    So, are you telling me that realistically one city will just drop the Class C rap if I serve out the first one? Or are you saying at some point I would have to either pay or sit in the second jail, just not be shipped out there?
    I am saying that they will not ship you to the county with the other capias but that doesn't mean that capias goes away. You serve your time in city A, get released and will still have your warrant outstanding from the other city.
  12. #12
    ScofflawIGuess is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CavemanLawyer View Post
    I am saying that they will not ship you to the county with the other capias but that doesn't mean that capias goes away. You serve your time in city A, get released and will still have your warrant outstanding from the other city.
    Thanks again CavemanLawyer. My case ended up proving you right. However I found out a little more how this works legally in Tx. City A ends up notiying City B that they've got you, then holding 24 hrs past the end of your time in City A. If City B doesn't show up to take you in that 24 hrs, they cut you loose but the warrant stays in force. That's exactly what happened to me. However, in City A (Irving) there were a couple guys where the second city was actually there in the DFW area and they really did come to take their butts, yep, even for Class C misdemeanors. Just not me; they would have had to come clear in from West Tx. So you were right on in my case!

    I ended up going out there and doing the time on the second warrant "voluntarily," -- didn't want this bugging me even more and wanted it all done on one nasty trip back to Tx. So it's over and the warrants are GONE! City time was boring and cramped but had a decent extra credit in addition to the official $100/day. Ended up sitting 5 days there for a warrant that was much bigger than $500, even including the extra 24 hrs they held me on the Midland warrant. Then went out to Midland, turned myself in and did 5 more days there on a smaller warrant (their extra credit wasn't as good). That PD sent me to Midland Co. jail - newer than Irving City but still it sucked worse, at least I thought. I'll never serve out a fine in a county jail again. But before somebody else says so, I guess if jail was fun then nobody would pay their fines.
    Last edited by ScofflawIGuess; 03-30-2012 at 08:41 AM.

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