If you have ever had a traffic ticket go warrant, you know that it can be a stressful event. This blog post is intended to help people who have had traffic warrants issued in Jefferson County or elsewhere, understand the process and how to make the bond work for you.
Generally – though not always – traffic tickets are issued on a summons. This is usually done in the form of the original ticket which is handed to you by the police officer who issued the ticket. If you show up for court, no warrant will be issued as a warrant is used to secure a defendant’s appearance. If you fail to appear for that court date, then the court will issue a warrant for your arrest. This may be done at the state level through an entity such as the Jefferson County Circuit Court, or the municipal court system, such as the Festus Municipal Court, the Desoto (De Soto) Municipal Court, the Pevely Municipal Court, the Arnold Municipal Court, et cetera.
These courts will very often set a cash bond – this is the amount that the defendant must post in order to be released – at the face value of the ticket and court costs. So for example, if the scheduled fine for a traffic ticket is $50.00, with $55.50 in court costs, the court may set a cash only bond at $105.50.
As stated previously, the purpose of this bond money is to ensure the traffic defendant’s appearance in court. So once bond is posted, if the defendant fails to appear again, that bond money may be forfeited through a special process of the court.
But provided the defendant continues to make appearances in court, in person or by counsel, then once the traffic tickets are disposed of, an attorney may file a motion to convert the bond money to fines and costs, which would effectively offset the total amount of any fines that are levied for the ticket.
This motion is effective even when the ticket is amended. Thus, if a competent attorney is hired and the traffic ticket is amended to something such as a non-moving violation, or ‘defective equipment’ or littering – this motion to convert bond to fines and costs may still be filed and used to offset the amount of fines and costs.