A recent story was published on AL.com regarding the number of people being jailed over failure to register or license their pet inthe city limits. However, upon further inspection, most of these jail sentences don’t result from the underlying charge of failing to register, but instead of paying fines/fees and missing court altogether.
Regardless of the nature of the offense, missing court is a recipe for disaster because it will almost always lead to the issuance of an arrest warrant. Some of these “failure to appear” warrants do not contain a bond because the defendant has already shown that he or she cannot be trusted to show up in court when they are supposed to. Please visit our firm’s blog post regarding active warrant, including failure to appear warrants and how to address them here.
The news story also references people’s failure to pay fines and fees as a reason for getting jail time. Most people don’t understand that if the prosecuting attorney agrees to drop your case upon payment of court costs, and those costs never gets paid, the case never gets dropped. A failure to pay fines and fees timely means that the case reactivates on the court docket and a warrant is issued for re-arrest based on a failure to abide by the court’s order to pay money.
Failing to register a pet can also bring unwanted attention from city officials and the health department, which could lead to other charges depending on what these law enforcement officials see on your property.