City keeps amnesty for fines open through April 4

Published 10:25 am Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fine collections during Vicksburg Police Department’s amnesty period have already set a record with more than a week two weeks left in the campaign.
As of this week, Vicksburg Municipal Court had collected $61,756.41 from people taking advantage of the amnesty period that allows for contempt of court warrants to be dismissed for those who voluntarily pay their tickets, Municipal Judge Toni Walker Terrett said.
“Offenders who owe past due court fines to the City of Vicksburg have until April 4 to take advantage of the amnesty period. If a contempt of court warrant has been issued, the warrant will be dismissed if individuals voluntarily come to the Municipal Court clerk’s office to pay their fines in full,” Terrett said in an e-mail.
The collections so far for the amnesty period that began Feb. 3, are up more than $7,000 from total collections during the entirety 2013 amnesty period.
From Feb. 1 through March 31, 2013 the city collected $54,449.08 in delinquent fines and fees, according to court records.
During the 2012 amnesty period, 189 warrants were cleared and $56,623.39 was collected. In 2011, $47,807.52 was collected and 2010’s amnesty period, which ran for four months, yielded $57,112.
City officials have said that they set the amnesty period to coincide with tax season hoping that once wanted offenders had a little extra cash in their pockets they would choose to take care of their fines rather than face jail time.
Still the collections represented a fraction of outstanding court fines.
The city accountant’s office has estimated the city is owed more than $2 million in unpaid or partially collected fines.
Some of the delinquent fines date to the 1990s, but most are more recent, Municipal Court administrator Janice Carter has said. Money collected from court fines is divided between the city and state, but the percentage varies from ticket to ticket, Carter said.

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