Three central Texans try to get rid of tickets in three differen - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Three central Texans try to get rid of tickets in three different ways

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)

Three different people were at the City of Waco Municipal Court, and each of them were dealing with their traffic tickets in three different ways.

"I decided to just go ahead and pay it off," Daisy Cardenas said.
"I tried to see if they have some community service that fit me," Jerry Moore said.
"I'm going to go to get the waiver," Shay Mitchell said.

Because of the number of people who have not gotten their balance to zero, the City of Waco's website says people owe more than $15 million

According to Texas Office of Court Administration statistics, more than 52,000 fine-only cases ended up on the Waco Municipal Court docket within the last year. All of those cases could have been handled by paying a fine. 

"The municipal court judge assess the fine, up to what the ordinance allows," said Larry Holze, the city of Waco spokesperson. "Most city ordinances provide for a financial penalty and not any jail time."

But for Moore and Mitchell, their ticket did land them in jail.

"I have like, eight outstanding tickets, and I just got let out of jail for them," Moore said. "You better take care of your tickets, cause they got a place for you,"

"I went to jail for them, then they let me stay until the next morning, then let me back out," Mitchell said. "But that was defeating the purpose because it was still the same thing." 

Once a person gets a ticket for a fine-only charge, that person has three main options to handle the ticket if they want to avoid going to jail. The fine can be paid, the person can sign up for community service, or an indigency waiver can be submitted. 

Holze said how a person is dealt with after they get a fine-only charge is up to the municipal court judge. 

"The judge has the power to do what it is necessary to make sure that offender is properly handled," the city spokesperson said. "All of the options that are out there that are allowed by the judge to make those decisions, are his decisions."

Moore, Mitchell, and Cardenas all went to the Municipal Court to try to avoid the possibility of going to jail.

"It was just easier for me to pay off," Cardenas said. "I didn’t want to do community service because I don’t have the time to do it. So if i wasn’t able to commit to it, I would most likely go to jail."

"I’m going to go get the waiver because there’s a lot I need to do, and I can’t do it with those warrants," Mitchell said. 

"They’re trying to see what they can do to try to help me get that to a zero balance," Moore said.

The T.O.A.C. stats said that more than 400 fine-only cases were closed through community service. The stats also so that only three cases were closed because people received waivers. 

An official with the court said that people who want a waiver for indigency must show that they cannot pay their fines, and that committing to community service will be an undue hardship.

Even with options like community service and applying for a waiver, the T.O.A.C. says more than 11,000 fine-only cases ended in jail time within the last year.  

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