With amnesty program, court offers to waive failure-to-appear fees
The DeKalb County State Court Traffic Division has launched a citation amnesty program through.
By J.D. Capelouto
March 12, 2019
DeKalb County drivers facing citations for missing traffic court dates can now get rid of those fees through a citation amnesty program.
After getting a traffic ticket, people who fail to appear for their court date often get hit with a further “delinquent” traffic citation.
The program involves signing up online, and then paying a visit to the DeKalb County State Court and entering a plea on the original case. Those $50 failure-to-appear fees would then be waived, said Judge Shondeana Morris, the presiding judge in the court’s traffic division. If someone’s driver’s license is suspended because of a fee, this program could clear that up too.
“I think most people, they want to resolve their matter, so this gives them an opportunity to do that,” Morris said in an interview. “It gives them an opportunity to restore their license.”
About 13,000 people face failure-to-appear citations for traffic cases in DeKalb from January 2010 to December 2018, Morris said.
Those citations can result in additional fees, driver’s license suspension and, in some cases, warrants and arrests, Morris said.
Drivers can sign up on the court's website, over the phone or in person to receive a date to resolve their case. Registration ends May 17, and court sessions are held Monday through Thursdays at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
“Individuals who wish to clear penalties and warrants under this program are encouraged to sign up early,” the court said in a statement. “When the time-limited amnesty period ends, any remaining open cases and outstanding warrants will be rigorously enforced.”
Criminal justice reform advocates have cited court fees and fines as one aspect of a broken justice system; Morris said the amnesty program allows people to resolve their cases in a fair and just way.
“We try to make as accessible to everyone as best as we possibly can,” she said. ‘We’re really excited about this.”