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Loganville Court offers amnesty for overdue traffic fines

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- If you've ever been through Loganville and gotten a ticket you didn't pay for, there may be some good news waiting for you.

The city of Loganville Municipal Court will be offering an Amnesty Program during the month of August in an effort to clear up the backlog of cases and collect unpaid traffic and ordinance violation fines.

"We heard of other courts doing something similar and it just seemed like a good idea that would help us out and help the citizens as well," said Loganville Police Chief Mike McHugh.

McHugh emphasized that the majority of cases that would qualify for the amnesty program involve traffic violations and that no felony crimes are involved in the program.

"They are all cases that would be heard in Municipal Court," he said. "Each case will have to be looked at individually to see if we could allow them to participate in the amnesty program or not."

During the period of Aug. 1-31, persons who have unpaid citations, including those with failure to appear warrants and contempt of court fees, will have the opportunity to clear their cases and have the $100 contempt of court fees waived.

In cases involving a drivers license suspension, the court will issue the necessary paperwork to allow reinstatement of driving privileges once the fines are satisfied and the case is closed.

Those with outstanding warrants will be able to clear their cases and avoid an arrest if they come forward during the amnesty period.

McHugh said many people don't know that with an outstanding violation, warrants are issued and if they are stopped by law enforcement anywhere that information is available to the officer.

"The majority have failure to appear warrants issued and they also have had their license suspended by this point. If they were to get pulled over, there is a very good possibility they would be arrested," he said.

McHugh said there is a backlog of more than 800 cases with unpaid fines, dating back as far as 1988.

"We'd love to be able to clear all of those up, but realistically, we don't think we'll be able to do that," McHugh said, adding that he is hopeful, however, for the program's success.

"This will be their last opportunity to clear their cases without facing arrest and possible jail time," said Municipal Court Judge Brad Brownlow in a printed press release. "In these tough economic times, the removal of the $100 contempt fee may be the best reason to come forward and clear an old case."

Officials declined to estimate the amount of revenue this program potentially could generate; however, there is currently $230,000 in unpaid fines on the Municipal Court books.

McHugh said many of the folks who could benefit from the program live in Rockdale and Newton counties.

"We have customers from all over," he said.

Anyone wishing to take advantage of the Amnesty Program may do so at the Municipal Court located at 605 Tom Brewer Road, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Those with questions about the program or who wish to find out if they are eligible, may call the court at 770-466-8087.