If you received a speeding ticket tomorrow, would you be able to pay it?
Most people commit a traffic violation or other minor offense at some point in their lives. Too often, the deciding factor that turns a small mistake into a chronic struggle is something outside a person’s control: they are unable to afford their fines, or they cannot come to court because of their work schedule or because of a lack of transportation. These unresolved fines can turn into a serious problem because they can lead to holds on driver’s licenses and prevent residents from driving legally.
One of my most important goals as the City of Victoria Municipal Court judge is to work with residents so that everyone can access our services. One of the ways we do this is by offering payment deferrals, reduced fines, community service and other pathways to help residents clear their records. We also work to give residents a variety of opportunities to meet with me regardless of their circumstances.
Some citizens have trouble attending a court docket because they have jobs that don’t allow them to take time off during the day. For these residents, we offer weekend and evening dockets so they can come in on their own schedules. Our virtual dockets provide an additional avenue for citizens who cannot come to court because of a lack of transportation.
February is Warrant Resolution Month for the court, and we make a special effort to help citizens resolve their cases this month by hosting extra dockets. You can resolve your warrant at one of our e-court sessions at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, or 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, by clicking the E-Court Appearance link at www.victoriatx.gov/municipalcourt. We will also host our regularly scheduled walk-in docket 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, so citizens can visit us in person if they prefer.
A newer initiative that I’m especially proud of is our outreach dockets, where we meet with citizens at local nonprofits to help them resolve their cases. Our outreach dockets allow us to meet and connect with residents where they are. The next one will be 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Christ’s Kitchen.
The outreach dockets are a collaborative effort by the court, our community partners and local attorneys who are all working together to support residents who want to get back on the right path. It has been truly moving to see how much our residents appreciate this program.
If you would like to partner with the court to host an outreach docket or other type of event, please fill out our community outreach form at www.victoriatx.gov/courtoutreach.
Taking care of a speeding ticket shouldn’t be a struggle. If you’ve fallen behind on your payments and you’re unsure how to get back on track, please contact the court at 361-485-3050 or email@example.com so we can discuss your options.
Vanessa Heinold is the City of Victoria Municipal Court judge.