Call St. Louis traffic law attorney Andrea Storey Rogers today at (314) 724-5059.
Why Was an Arrest Warrant Issued Against You?
Missouri courts can issue a warrant for your arrest for many reasons, but here are a few of the most common ones:
- you failed to pay your fine for a speeding ticket or other moving violation
- you’re on a payment plan with the court to pay fines that you owe and you missed a payment
- you failed to appear in court for your court date
- you caused a car accident and didn’t pay for the damages to the other driver’s car
Some courts wait a few weeks before issuing an active warrant. Other courts will send a letter reminding you that you failed to pay your fine or missed your court date before they issue a Failure to Appear (FTA) charge or an arrest warrant. However, don’t count on the court giving you a break on a Missouri arrest warrant unless you would like to spend a few days in your local jail.
How to Find Out If You Have a Warrant in Missouri
An attorney may be able to tell you if you have a warrant. Traffic law attorneys and criminal defense attorneys are more likely than other types of attorneys to subscribe to an online service that allows them to search a database to find out which courts have issued arrest warrants against you. Some attorneys charge for this service; others will do it for free.
If you know you have old tickets or criminal charges that you haven’t taken care of, but you can’t afford to hire an attorney to do a warrant search for you, then call the court that issued the charges against you and ask the court clerk if they have issued a warrant against you.
Warrants Don’t Expire
Warrants never expire, so at some point you will have to get your warrants lifted. You can do this by hiring an attorney to lift the warrant for you, or you can turn yourself in to the police and pay the bond. If you don’t take care of your warrants, you risk being taken to jail if you are pulled over for a routine traffic ticket, or if a police officer scans your license plate and sees that there is a warrant for your arrest.
You Won’t Have to Pay the Bond if You Hire an Attorney to Cancel Your Warrant
Many courts will issue an FTA (Failure to Appear) charge after you miss your first court date, but if you miss court a second time, the court will issue an arrest warrant and will set a bond, which is an amount of money that you have to pay to the court to get your warrant cancelled and to get a new court date. Bond amounts can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, depending on the nature of the charges against you.
In many cases, an attorney can get your warrant cancelled or “lifted,” obtain a new court date for you, and negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor to have the charge reduced to a lesser offense. The prosecutor will assess a fine and court costs and give you a new court date, which will be your payment due date. You won’t have to pay the bond amount to the court, but you will have to pay the fine and court costs, as well as any other fees, such as a warrant fee or FTA fee.
Some courts won’t cancel a warrant even if an attorney files a pleading requesting it. In those courts, your only option is to turn yourself in at the police department, where you will be booked, and then you can pay the bond to cancel the warrant and get a new court date.
If You Have Multiple Warrants, You Will Be Taken to Each Jail Where You Have a Warrant, Unless an Attorney Gets Your Warrants Cancelled in Advance
If you have warrants in several different courts and the police arrest you and take you to jail for one of those warrants, then as soon as you pay your bond in the first court, you will be sent to jail in the next court that issued a warrant for your arrest. In order to be released from jail in the second court and get a new court date, you will have to pay a separate bond. An attorney may be able to get your warrant cancelled before you leave one jail and are transported to the next jail.
Lieu of Bail Hold Order is a Hold on Your Driver’s License And is Not a Suspension
Some courts issue a Lieu of Bail Hold Order on your driver’s license if you miss your first court date or fail to pay your fine for a speeding ticket or other traffic violation. If there is a Lieu of Bail hold on your license, you can still drive legally, but you can’t renew your driver’s license, get a duplicate license, change your address listed on your license, or upgrade your license from one class to another.
To get the Lieu of Bail Hold removed, you must pay the fine (or hire an attorney to get the ticket reduced to a non-moving violation) and provide the DOR with a “release” from the court, proving that you have paid your fine.
Failure to Appear (FTA) Charges Can Cause Your Missouri Driver’s License to Be Suspended
Any court can issue a FTA (Failure to Appear) charge or arrest warrant against you if you fail to appear in court for your court date, or if you fail to pay a speeding ticket fine. In many cases, you will also be charged an additional fee for the FTA, which can range from $5 to $100 per incident, depending on the court. Many courts also charge warrant fees, which can be $50 to $100 for each warrant.
After the court reports your arrest warrant or Failure to Appear charge to the Driver License Bureau of the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR), the DOR will suspend your driver’s license. You won’t be able get your license reinstated unless you pay a $20 reinstatement fee for each FTA charge and provide proof to the DOR that you have paid your fines. Click here for more information about Missouri Failure to Appear charges.
FACT Suspension is a Suspension of Your Driver’s License if You Fail to Appear in Court in Missouri or Any Other State
If a court in Missouri, or any other state, files a warrant or FTA charge against you because you failed to appear for your court date or you failed to pay your speeding ticket fine and your license is suspended, then that suspension is called a “FACT Suspension” (Failure to Appear in Court For Traffic Violation Suspension).
No hardship license (Limited Driving Privilege) is available to you if you have a FACT Suspension, and the suspension stays in effect until you pay your fines and meet the requirements for reinstatement of your driver’s license.
How to Get Your Driver’s License Reinstated After a FACT Suspension
In order to get your driver’s license reinstated and the FACT suspension lifted, you must pay the traffic ticket fine (or hire an attorney to get the ticket reduced to a non-moving violation), pay a $20 reinstatement fee for each FTA charge that was issued against you, and get a compliance letter from the court, which proves that you paid the fine.
Reinstatement after a FACT Suspension can be handled through any local Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles license office. Take your $20 reinstatement fee and compliance letter to any Missouri DMV office to get your license reinstated.
FACT Suspension Stays on Your Missouri Driving Record For 5 Years After the Date Your License Was Reinstated
After 5 years have passed since the date on which your driver’s license was reinstated following a FACT Suspension, you may contact the Missouri Department of Revenue and request that the FACT Suspension be removed from your driving record.