Arrest warrants suspended, automatic personal bonds issued to keep COVID-19 from spreading in Travis County jails

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An image of the affidavit for warrant of arrest of Michael Quinn.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Travis County has suspended warrants for certain low-level, non-violent offenses, in order to curb the threat of COVID-19 in county jails.

District judges have also moved to allow certain persons charged with these crimes to be automatically released from jail on a personal bond, “in the interest of justice and fairness.”

Judges have agreed to temporarily suspend active warrants and issue personal bonds for the following felony offenses:

  • State jail felony and third-degree felony Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • State jail felony Delivery of a Controlled Substance
  • State jail felony and third-degree felony Possession of Marijuana
  • Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud
  • State jail felony Credit or Debit Card Abuse
  • State jail felony Criminal Mischief, unless fire or a deadly weapon was used in the commission of the offense
  • State jail felony False Statement to Obtain Property or Credit
  • State jail felony Forgery
  • State jail felony Fraudulent Destruction, Removal or Concealment of a Writing
  • State jail felony Graffiti
  • State jail felony Interference with Railroad Property
  • State jail felony Prostitution
  • State jail felony Securing Execution of a Document by Deception
  • State jail felony Tampering with Physical Evidence or Attempt to Tamper with Physical Evidence
  • State jail felony Theft
  • State jail felony Theft of Service

The order on warrants states the Travis County Sheriff’s Office will relate the order to all law enforcement officers requesting confirmation of warrants, “so that they are aware not to bring low-level offenders to the jail during this time.

If a peace officer believes a person with a suspended warrant needs to be arrested for a “specific articulable reason,” the officer has to contact the magistrate who issued the warrant in order to reactivate it.

“It is particularly significant to implement this policy now, when we are all laser-focused on preventing the introduction of COVID-19 into our jail,” said Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore.

These orders went into effect this week and will last until May 8.

This follows another emergency standing order, signed March 17, suspending active warrants for all misdemeanor offenses, except:

  • Unlawful Restraint
  • Violation of Protective Order
  • Unlawful Carrying Weapons
  • Assault with Bodily Injury
  • Assault Family Violence
  • Assault Dating Violence
  • Indecent Assault
  • Terroristic Threat

According to the Sheriff’s Office, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Travis County jails. At last check, three inmates with possible symptoms had been isolated for observation.

MORE: No positive COVID-19 cases in Travis County jails, says Sheriff’s Office

An office spokes person said they were taking extra precautions to protect against the spread of the virus, according to an office spokesperson.

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