If you’re one of the more than 300,000 people with Fort Worth Municipal Court warrants, you can settle the fines Wednesday without fear of being arrested.
Those with outstanding warrants can come forward at the Goodwill Industries at 4005 Campus Drive Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to meet with a judge. During the Safe Harbor event, people with warrants won’t be arrested and the court will help people come up with a payment plan or community service option to take care the violation.
About 370,000 people had Class C warrants as of Oct. 22. Class C misdemeanors are offenses such as traffic tickets, barking dogs and other nonviolent minor offenses.
When someone doesn’t pay a fine — either because they don’t understand how or can’t afford to — a warrant is issued and they risk being arrested. Many fear arrest and avoid the courthouse, said William Rumuly, Municipal Court Clerk.
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“We’re really targeting people who have challenges physically or financially in coming into our regular location,” Rumuly said. “We want to help them get over those barriers.”
The program is part of the Court in the Community week which runs through Friday. It doesn’t wipe the slate clean for warrants, but it does allow people to meet with a judge arrest-free.
Residents should bring two forms of identification as well as financial paperwork to prove inability to pay. People can request a payment plan, community service, indigence, or time served if they were recently incarcerated.
The court served 56 people with outstanding warrants at a similar event in April. At that time, Goodwill also assisted people with paying Texas Department of Public Safety surcharges. That service won’t be available Wednesday, but Rumuly said the court hopes it will return in the future.
The court plans to hold Court in the Community events monthly with Goodwill participating every other month, he said.
Warrants, even for the lowest misdemeanor, still show up on background checks and can lead to job and housing loss.