Reader Email: Old vs New Laws

I received a rather…interesting reader email yesterday and thought I’d share:

Jay,

I received a ticket for speeding, 70 in a 65 during the night-time speed limits several months ago. I forgot about it and now have a traffic warrant of arrest out for me. Shouldn’t the warrant be illegal now since the night-time speed is 70?

Thanks,

[name removed]

First, you must either be very bold or very stupid to email a cop the fact that you have a warrant. I could easily strip the email headers, find out where you live, and if it’s local, arrest you.

Anyway, simply put, the warrant is legal. You violated the law and a warrant was issued based on the laws during the time of the citation. The law may have changed, but the violation still stands because you were in violation of the law at that time.

An example of this would be like a burglary cold case. Lets say a burglar breaks into someone’s home in 1984. Flash forward to 2011, and the cops catch the guy that broke the law. The guy would be subject to the penal code of 1984, not 2011.

Another example would be the change the Texas legislature made to capital offenses. Murdering a child under the age of 10 is now a capital offense. If a person has already been convicted of murdering a child age 7 to 10 or the act of the murder of the child age 7 to 10 took place on or before August 31, 2011, it’s not a capital offense. If they’ve already been convicted, they aren’t to have another trial since it’s a capital offense now.

I hope that clears things up for you. Now get your warrant taken care of before you put a friend or family member in a tight spot!

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