Chatham County officials hope to recoup some of the roughly $7 million in unpaid fines from people who’ve failed to appear in court for traffic citations. An amnesty program beginning Friday will waive contempt fees for people who didn’t show up for their court dates.
The program will run through September 15.
Tammy Stokes, Chief Judge of the Chatham County Recorders’ Court, says waiving the fees will serve as an incentive. “Contempt fees can be up to $100 per citation,” she says, “so it can save them a lot of money, and the old traffic citations must be paid before they can get their driving privileges reinstated.”
Stokes says about 50,000 citations could be eligible for the program. “So this will give us an opportunity to clear some old citations,” she says, “and collect an awful lot of money for the city and county governments.”
The amnesty applies to driving offenses such as speeding, expired tags, and more, but not to parking tickets. Violators still have to pay fines and any other court costs associated with their offenses.
Once the amnesty period ends next month, Stokes says the county will work with a collections agency to pursue violators with unpaid tickets.