What Happens if You Miss the Date on a Traffic Citation in Houston?
Basically, the court has 2 main options for dealing with a traffic ticket failure to appear:
1) issue a bench warrant with a bail setting; and or
2) Notify the Department of Public Safety of the Failure to Appear, which causes a suspension of the drivers license after a short period of time. (See Section 706.006 of the Texas Transportation Code)
Attorney's Notes: Missing the court date on a traffic ticket itself is not a big deal. If you go to court immediately on the next day after you missed, you can almost always get things back on track quickly.
But some times the problem is older. People tend to suffer the worst consequences after missing a court date by either getting arrest on the warrant, or getting arrested, / car impounded for driving on a suspended drivers license. Because of this problem, the failure to appear can lead to other, new criminal charges quite quickly.
Most traffic court warrants in Harris County Justice of the Peace Court can be cleared by either posting bail with the court clerk and setting a court date, or by personal appearance in court for Arraignment by Defendant or Attorney for the Defendant.
Here is what the Harris County Justice of the Peace Court Says about what happens if you fail to appear for court:
If you fail to take care of your citation prior to the appearance date on the citation, or fail to appear in court as required, the court may issue a warrant for your arrest. You may also be charged with an additional offense for violating your promise to appear. The issuance of a warrant carries additional fees, and the punishment for the offense of "violate promise to appear" is a fine of not more than $200.00.
If you fail to appear after posting bail, you may be charged with the offense of "failure to appear." The punishment for "failure to appear" is a fine not to exceed $500.00.Denial of Renewal of Driver's License: If you fail to appear in court as required, the court may notify the Department of Public Safety to deny the renewal of your driver's license. You will be required to pay an administrative fee of $30 prior to the renewal of your license. This fee is required by Section 706.006 of the Texas Transportation Code.
For more info, please see: Source = Harris County Justice of the Peace Court.