City court begins amnesty period on past fines

Published 2:01 pm Monday, February 1, 2021

People who owe the city of Vicksburg back fines for traffic or other misdemeanor offenses have the opportunity to pay them and avoid being arrested for contempt of court.

According to city records, there presently is $3,398,671.26 owed the city in back fines. Past due fines totaled $4,068,883.79 in 2020.

Vicksburg Municipal Court began its annual amnesty program Monday, giving people owing past due fines until April 30 to come to the court services department and pay them and avoid arrest or having the money taken out of any state income tax refund they may be due.

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The Board of Mayor and Aldermen in December 2019 approved an agreement with Municipal Intercept Co. LLC to work with the Mississippi Department of Revenue to put a lien on an individual’s state income tax refund if they owe the city money.

Municipal Judge Angela Carpenter said taking advantage of the amnesty period “can be very beneficial” to people owing the city money. She said the two-month period provides people enough time to pay the fines.

“It allows anyone who has an unpaid fine or contempt of court warrant to come to the police department and pay the fine in full,” she said. “When they do that, they don’t have to worry about sitting in court and having to waste time in court on that matter. The fine gets paid with the least bit of hassle on them.”

Having people take care of their fines, Carpenter said, also benefits the court and the police department because court clerks do not have to take time to prepare warrants and reduce the need for extra officers to serve arrest warrants.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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