Ernesto Cardoza has gone to jail three times because he couldn't afford to pay his traffic tickets, and it cost him dearly.
"I lost everything — my girlfriend left with my kids, and when I came out I had to start over," the 34-year-old Dallas crane operator said of his first stint — 30 days in 2005 for failing to pay speeding tickets.
Texas locks up more people who can't afford to pay tickets and fines than any other state, but that could change if Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signs off on bipartisan bills that would require judges to offer alternatives such as community service, payment plans or waivers.
Ninety-five percent of warrants issued in Texas last...