Amnesty program for unpaid tickets

May 20, 2011 10:17:06 AM PDT
The Houston Police Department has announced an amnesty program for people with outstanding tickets. The idea is to pay up so you won't get locked up. The amnesty program running for the next two weeks includes parking tickets non-traffic and traffic citations that were delinquent on or before February 28, 2011.

The city of Houston is hoping you'll go to court and simply settle your outstanding tickets, but if you don't, they're going to make an effort to find and arrest you.

At any given time, the municipal courts have 300,000 outstanding cases, and they want to clear them up, even if it means offenders pay at a reduced rate.

Judge Barbara Hartle with the City of Houston Municipal Court said, "My hope as a judge is that people are not going to live out there with warrants out for them, that they're going to come in and resolve their warrants so they don't have to worry about being stopped on 610 with their whole family and their kids in the car and then be placed in handcuffs and taken away."

If you have an unpaid traffic ticket, a court date may have been set. If you didn't show up at that time, an additional fee may have been added for a failure to appear violation. Authorities are suggesting that if you clear things up during this amnesty period, perhaps the failure to appear fee may be dropped, or you may be allowed to pay the ticket at a reduced rate.

Beginning on June 5, anyone who hasn't taken care of their citations will have a warrant issued for their arrest. Then a warrant round-up will held from June 5-19, with officers looking for offenders at their homes, workplaces and on the roads.

If you don't know if you have a traffic ticket, you can call 311, visit your local court building, or go online to the city's website. Additionally, you can search for a parking citation by license plate number.

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