Metro court offers safe surrendering alternative to help clear warrant backlog

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BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. — If you have an outstanding warrant, Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court is making it easier for you to turn yourself in over Zoom. 

It’s part of the court’s efforts to get the upper hand on tens of thousands of outstanding warrants.

“Our command staff has taken an in-depth look at the thousands of outstanding felony warrants and will take start with 800 of the most violent recent offenders,” said APD Deputy Chief Cecily Barker. 

Since the start of the year, Bernalillo County had 5,393 felony warrants and 65,000 active misdemeanor warrants.

“So with the great warrant backlog that we have in Bernalillo County, we have teamed up with various justice partners to go ahead and offer this safe surrender event,” said Camille Baca, spokesperson for the Bernalillo County Metro Court.

From now until May 19, Metro Court is holding a series of virtual “safe surrender” hearings. This means if you have an outstanding misdemeanor or felony warrant issued in metro court, you can schedule a Zoom hearing to potentially have your matter cleared.

“Usually, if people have an outstanding warrant, they either contact their attorney to file a motion to get that warrant addressed. And if not, they turn themselves into custody,” said Baca.

This means you wouldn’t have to risk being arrested at home in front of family and children, or during a routine traffic stop. Making it easier and more convenient to clear your warrant. 

“We’re hoping that any apprehensions to come down to the courthouse to appear to address these outstanding warrants that that’s eased,” Baca said.

The first step is to call the Metropolitan Court’s customer service line at (505)-841-8151. From there, staff will run a background check to see if you’re eligible for safe surrender. Finally. you’ll get a follow-up notice to set up your Zoom hearing. 

“Safe surrender events like this, they save resources, and they save lives,” said Baca.