Texas woman stripped and jailed over unpaid traffic ticket

By Travis Gettys
Friday, October 25, 2013 13:42 EDT
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A north Texas woman said she was ordered to strip and then jailed over an overdue traffic ticket.

Sarah Boaz said she was cited in August for running a stop sign, but she later lost the ticket and failed to pay her fine.

She said she knew that was wrong, but she was still surprised Wednesday morning to find a Richland Hills city marshal waiting outside her home with an arrest warrant.

“I’m like, nobody puts out a bench warrant after 60 days,” Boaz said. “Why would you do that? You wouldn’t do that.”

She was taken to jail in handcuffs and a female officer ordered her to undress and stand against a wall.

Jail officials said undressing was standard procedure for anyone booked into the facility, but the police department said the search was not technically considered a strip search.

“She was given a dress out,” a department spokesperson said in an email. “Before they go into the cell they are taken by a detention officer of the same sex to a private room with no cameras. They have to remove all clothing and they are given a jumpsuit. The officer searches their clothes, at no time does the officer touch them.”

Police said Richland Hills is small enough that it has only one marshal, and warrants for unpaid tickets get more attention than they might in larger towns.

But Boaz’s attorney said the city isn’t required to jail scofflaws.

“The constitution doesn’t keep the government or government officials from using common sense,” said attorney Jason Smith. “Unfortunately, some police officers, some governments get overly aggressive because they want that ticket revenue.”

Court officials said Boaz was sent two reminders, but she said she never received them.

Watch this video report from KDFW-TV:

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