Court Extends Amnesty Period

The City of Houston's Municipal Court has extended its 2009 Amnesty Program for another week. People who have "unfinished business" with the city's traffic courts will have an extra week to take care of it, as Jim Bell reports.

The Amnesty Program was scheduled to end Saturday, the 16th, but Presiding Municipal Court Judge Berta Mejia says she decided to extend it one week through Friday the 22nd.  She says it's because of something you may have heard about in the news.

"It's been extended for various reasons. One of them is the Swine Flu that was in the news and everything.  A lot of people might have stayed away from our building in an effort to avoid places where there would be large crowds." 

Judge Mejia says so far the public's in-person response to the Amnesty hasn't been what she would call "outstanding," but the pace is picking up.  She says people should remember they don't have to do this in person or even go downtown.  They can pay their fines at any one of the Municipal Court annexes around town. They can also pay from home, by phone, the mail, or the Internet.

"By mail they just would say 'We'd like to participate in the Amnesty Program.'  If they pay online and the only matter left is the Failure to Appear charge, that is going to be handled as well for them. They don't have to necessarily say anything. That they're participating in the amnesty."

Judge Mejia reminds people that the Amnesty is available only for cases that became delinquent on or before February 28th. Cases that became delinquent after that date cannot be resolved in this amnesty. for more information, view the Municipal Courts website

Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.