Over 200 cases were cleared during a Hopkins County Justice of the Peace Warrant Round-up that took place between January 25 and March 5, 2017. Warrants were served by law enforcement, but in many cases people were prompted to contact the court. Extended office hours on two days also allowed people to contact the court to settle fines.
The Hopkins County Justice Courts and the Sulphur Springs Municipal Court are very understanding and accommodating, according to Brad Cummings, local JP. No one should ever go to jail for a class “C” warrant but communication is Paramount, he stated. Getting a Class C ticket is not the end of the world and shouldn’t be treated as such. Yet, the case will remain open until fully satisfied.
When a person gets a ticket if they don’t contact the Court, the court tries to contact them. Cummings said that a local company in Sulphur Springs, GHS, attempts to contact defendants for the courts. GHS also sends pre-warrant notices to defendants as well. These are yellow cards and are in fact a legitimate contact. “It is not a scam,” Cummings stated. “If you received one of these cards, you need to contact the court listed on the card.”
Contacting the court doesn’t necessarily mean physically coming into the office, according to Cummings. A phone call or writing the court also constitutes contact. The contact must be done on or before the date given on the ticket. There are certain circumstances where a person will be required to appear in person. Initial contact with the court will advise the defendant whether or not they must appear in person.
Cummings noted that not everyone’s financial situation is the same. “If a person cannot pay their entire fine up front, we understand that and we can set up a payment plan,” said Cummings. Another way to satisfy a fine is through completing community service, but that has to be requested and approved by the judge. Certain circumstances also provide other means of satisfying fines that would be discussed with the defendant when they contact the court. The only time that a warrant is issued for a defendant is when no contact with the court is made, the court cannot contact the individual because of bad contact information, or the person fails to appear before the court for show cause hearing or pretrial.