Austin Courts' Amnesty Program Allows People With Warrants To Avoid Jail And Fees

Feb 1, 2019

Anyone who has outstanding warrants with Austin's municipal courts or downtown community court can get their fees waived and settle up with the city without risk of being arrested this month.

The Warrant Amnesty Program runs through Feb. 28 and offers several opportunities for people to walk in and talk to a judge every weekday.

Olivia Cosby, Austin Municipal Court operations manager, says most of the warrants eligible for amnesty stem from Class C misdemeanors and other basic civil offenses.

"What we're really trying to do is incentivize compliance."

“So anyone out there in Austin who has a no-driver's license ticket, a speeding ticket, a basic traffic violation, a driving-without-insurance violation – those are the types of tickets that, if people did not appear for their court citation or did not make the appropriate payment plans, their citations may have gone into warrant," she says.

Cosby says the program will waive the $50 warrant fee for people who show up and arrange to resolve their warrants and citations by the end of the month.

Residents who are unable to pay outstanding fines when they appear in court may be eligible to set up a payment plan, perform community service or seek a waiver.

“What we’re really trying to do is incentivize compliance,” Cosby says.

Two court substations will process cases that don't require approval from a judge: at 12425 Lamplight Village Ave. and 5700 Manchaca Road. The program is also hosting four mobile court sessions from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at libraries where individuals can ask questions and get information on how to settle up:

  • Feb. 4 – SE Branch Library 5803 Nuckols Crossing Road
  • Feb. 13 – Pleasant Hill Branch Library, 211 E. William Cannon Dr.
  • Feb. 20 – Rutherford Auditorium, 1520 Rutherford Lane, Building #1
  • Feb. 25 – Terrazas Branch Library, 1105 E. Cesar Chavez St.

This is the third year Austin courts have offered amnesty. In a letter to the mayor and City Council, Municipal Court Clerk Mary Jane Grubb said the program helped more than 43,000 people in 2017 and 2018.

Anyone can find out if they have outstanding warrants by calling 512-974-4800 or by searching online.