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.
One of my most important goals as the City of Victoria Municipal Court judge is to make sure all citizens can access our services regardless of their circumstances. We can offer payment deferrals, reduced fines, community service and many other flexible options to help you clear your record, avoid arrest and get back on the right path.
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. We created the virtual dockets out of necessity when COVID-19 hit, but they have proven to be so useful that we have kept them as a permanent feature.
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. 26, or 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28, by clicking the E-Court Appearance link at www.victoriatx.gov/municipalcourt.
We will also host a walk-in docket 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, so that busy citizens can log in or stop by whenever their schedule allows it. You can attend the walk-in docket in person at the Municipal Court building, 107 W. Juan Linn St., or online through the E-Court Appearance link.
We’re also planning a new program for vulnerable citizens who can’t make it to court and don’t have access to attend a Zoom docket. Through our new “outreach dockets,” we will meet with citizens at local nonprofits and other accessible places to help them resolve their cases. If you would like to partner with the court to host an outreach docket, please fill out our community outreach form at www.victoriatx.gov/courtoutreach.
We will host our first outreach docket 8:30-10:30 a.m. March 5 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park as part of Keep Victoria Beautiful’s Silver City cleanup. I will be there with a laptop to help citizens look up their cases and discuss their options.
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 the right path, please contact the court at 361-485-3050 or firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss your options.
Vanessa Heinold is the City of Victoria Municipal Court judge.