• BEST IN STATE—Senior Courtney Schoen Lewis was named Best PR Student in Utah. Story

Failure to appear for court a common reason for arrest, cops say

November 9th, 2012 Posted in Opinion

By Jessica Sonderegger

LOGAN — Logan City Police Officer Jeff Simmons proceeded to reprimand a traffic violater Wednesday night. Within the hour, he was transporting driver Kyley Cosper to the Cache County Jail.

What began as a minor traffic offense soon led to Cosper’s $556 bail. With little investigation,  Simmons quickly discovered Cosper also had a failure-to-appear warrant issued in his name—a past citation of Cosper’s had gone unresolved for so long that almost anything could have resulted in his arrest.

It was one of 99 FTA warrant arrests issued during the month of October,  LCPD Lt. Brad Franke said.  “It is a very common event.”

One of the most common arrest-causing events, even.

“FTA arrests would certainly be one of the highest reasons for arrest,” Franke said. “This is because it is, of course, a catch-all for all the previous citations and arrests that were not taken care of.”

Consider one of many potential circumstances: A freshman USU student receives a citation for a minor traffic violation. Without knowing how or by when to properly address the citation, the student leaves it to expire—maybe even forgetting about it entirely. For one reason or another, be it roommates or a change of address, the student fails to receive notices declaring the upcoming consequence: a warrant issued in their name, for their arrest. Their next encounter with the cops, even for something minor, is enough to have the officer escort the student to jail.

“Usually it has to do with a person who has had a minor traffic or criminal offense,” Franke said, “and they have not paid their fines or followed through with the requirements. The court then puts out a warrant requiring them to be picked up.”

But not without proper and timely warning.

Nikell Prettyman, a clerk at the Logan City Justice Court, explained the process in which a warrant is issued. For non-mandatory appearance citations, failure to pay or contact the party responsible for collecting the citation fine will result in a delinquent notice mailed to the address on file in connection to the cited offender. The notice specifies the duration of time that will be allotted before a warrant will be issued. There are fee increases associated with both the delinquent notice and the warrant—in the instance the delinquent notice failed to arrive to the responsible party arrangement can be made to meet with the judge.

Non-mandatory appearances are citations that do not require a court appearance. They can be paid within a certain time referenced on the citation.

“Most of the time we can get things resolved without any sort of confrontation,” Prettyman said.

The state Driver License Division, in correlation with the Justice Court, also contacts the cited person in the instance the citation involved a traffic violation. An unresolved traffic violation could also result in a suspended driver’s license, as well as a failure to appear warrant.

Between the initial citation and the issued warrant both parties will attempt to resolve a delinquent citation a total of three times.

And even still the process results in multiple FTA arrests, almost every day.


Tags: , , , , ,

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.