Bakersfield Police gave the community the opportunity for a second chance with their Warrant Clearing event.
While felony charges didn’t qualify, those with outstanding misdemeanor warrants were in luck–and given a new court date. The goal? To alleviate both BPD and the courts from thousands of warrants that have amassed over time.
It’s not exactly amnesty–but it’s a form of a fresh start.
“We received a lot of good feedback from folks coming up telling us it’s a good thing to have,” said BPD officer Robert Woods.
A warrant that could take weeks to clear in court, takes five minutes at the event.
Misdemeanors could include everything from traffic violations to missing court payments. The consequence for putting off a warrant? You could be arrested for postponing it too long–sometimes without bail.
“You don’t have to get pulled over and go to jail–you can come right here and take care of it and get a written ticket for court,” said James Jordan of Bakersfield.
BPD typically holds one Warrant Clearing event each year, but they’re hoping to hold them more frequently due to their popularity. Some people even suggest once a month.
In June, BPD cleared 55 warrants. This month, nearly 70 cleared out of 150 screened.
However, not everyone’s warrants qualified for clearing.
“We actually had to book one on a misdemeanor and book another on a felony,” Woods explained.
But BPD says people shouldn’t feel scared to show up.
“They don’t feel threatened to come here as it would be going to the court, so it’s been beneficial,” Woods said.
Misdemeanors that can’t be cleared include anything involving a gun, resisting arrest, or giving false information to officers. BPD also can’t clear any kind of violence–including domestic violence.