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Feb 25, 2013

The seventh annual Great Texas Warrant Roundup begins March 2 and runs through March 10. Individuals with outstanding warrants in Port Lavaca have until March 1 to pay their fine. Otherwise, those individuals could go to jail.

Calhoun County Sheriff George Aleman urged those with outstanding warrants to contact the courts as soon as possible.

"The judges put out the warrants, and we have a lot. We are encouraging people to get with us at the sheriff's office, with judges or with the police department to take care of it before the roundup begins," Aleman said.

The roundup is part of a statewide effort where more than 260 Texas law enforcement agencies will round up and arrest those with outstanding warrants.

"If they come in now before the roundup starts, they can pay off their fine and take care of the situation," said Officer John Hallam, the program coordinator for the Port Lavaca Police Department.

Both Hallam and Aleman said that arrests will be made anywhere an individual is to be found, including a person's home or place of employment.

"When the roundup starts, we'll go to their homes. If we have their work address, we'll go there," Hallam said. "I know a lot of people don't want to be arrested at work."

Aleman said that being arrested, especially at work, could be an embarrassment.

Local law enforcement agencies will be working together to serve the warrants, Aleman said.

"All the law enforcement agencies in the area are working together," Aleman said. "If we stop somebody, we're going to check for warrants with the police department and vice versa. If someone gets stopped by the Seadrift or Point Comfort police departments or even a game warden, they are going to check. Surrounding counties are also good about working together."

Once the roundup begins, Hallam said individuals with warrants will still have the option to pay their fines. However, at that point they could be arrested.

"Once a warrant is issued, they have to go to the courthouse and speak with the clerk there at the municipal window," Hallam said. "They can pay after hours as well at the police department."

Warrants can range from misdemeanors to felonies, Aleman said, and added that by coming in now, a person could potentially save money.

"For example, if you get a ticket for $100 but fail to pay it, a failure to appear could be added, and that means additional charges. Instead of paying $100, a person could end up paying a $400 fine," Aleman said.

Aleman said that if a person gets arrested during a traffic stop, their vehicle could get towed, and the person would incur that additional cost as well.

Although the roundup does not start until March 2, Hallam said PLPD police officers are already beginning to serve warrants.

"We have been out trying to serve warrants and about seven of those have come in and taken care of it instead of going to jail," he said.

To avoid being publicly arrested and taken to jail, individuals with a warrant for their arrest should go to the court that issued the warrant and pay the fine by March 1.

"We highly encourage people to contact the courts now, make arrangements and keep in touch with the courts," Aleman said. "That is key."

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