Residents with outstanding fines can save money and potentially avoid arrest if they take advantage of the Jacksonville city court’s amnesty program.
During the program, which runs through the end of August, those who haven’t handled their warrants can pay the full amount of their original ticket, and the court will then dismiss their failure to appear charge, said Margarita Meza, court clerk/office manager. About 700 warrants were recently issued, which are primarily for traffic violations or other class C misdemeanors.
“We’re just trying to get people to come in here and give them a chance to save a little money,” she said.
For example, if someone got a $282.23 ticket for expired registration, the court would take off the collection fee on that charge, which is $62.13. Therefore, they would owe $220.10.
Ms. Meza said they would pay that all upfront. Then the court would dismiss the $382.20 charge for failure to appear.
She noted that if residents set up a payment plan rather than paying in full, they would still be responsible for everything, including the failure to appear charge, unless they had an unusual circumstance. Residents also may qualify for paying through community service or they can turn themselves in and pay out their debt with jail time, which is $100 per day.
It’s worth it to participate in the amnesty period, Ms. Meza said, because if the person doesn’t take care of their fines, they could be arrested if they are stopped on another charge. If a hold was put on their driver’s license, they also won’t be able to renew it until fines are paid.
Residents may call the city court to check on the exact amount they owe. Those who live out of town can pay with a credit card over the phone. Residents also may pay with a cashier’s check or money order.
For more information, call the city court at 903-586-7111.