Municipal Court Amnesty
by: Jim Bell, April 30, 2009 8:04:49 pm
During the amnesty, most people with outstanding arrest warrants for traffic violations or unpaid parking tickets can pay their fines and they won't be arrested or fined for failure to appear. Municipal Court Presiding Judge Berta Mejia says it's a way for scofflaws to come clean once and for all, but, she points out not everyone in that category is eligible for this.
"It is only for those cases who were in delinquent status prior to and including February 28th 2009. So if a defendant missed court March the 6th, they're not eligible to participate in this amnesty program."
Judge Mejia says she's observed over the years that many people with unpaid tickets and warrants are afraid to come in and pay up because they don't want to be arrested. So she started declaring periodic amnesties to give those people a chance to put those problems behind them, and it's worked.
"We've always had a successful amnesty program that we've had, when we've had them periodically. People do come in, we clear many warrants, and yes they've been successful."
The amnesty starts tomorrow, May 1st, and goes through Saturday May 16th. Judge Mejia says late fines can be paid in person at any Municipal Court substation in town, or from home with a variety of payment methods. For information about the amnesty, view the Houston Municipal Courts Department web site.
Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.