Chatham County offers amnesty on traffic tickets - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Chatham County offers amnesty on traffic tickets

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CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

Chatham County will grant a 30 day amnesty for overdue traffic tickets.

Beginning on Friday, people with outstanding traffic citations in Chatham County will have a chance to pay off the fines without facing outstanding contempt of court fees.

Chief Judge Tammy Stokes said it's a program she has been working on since taking office in May.

Under the one month amnesty, those with general moving traffic violations may simply pay the citations and court costs, but without the contempt citations, which can carry fees of $100 per citation.

"By taking care of their old traffic tickets, they can also take care of their driving privileges," said Stokes. "Normally, with driving citations, if you are in contempt, your privileges are taken away, so you can have your license reinstated as well."

The Savannah-Chatham Recorder's Court will hold the amnesty program from Aug. 15 to Sept. 15.

Delinquent drivers can pay original traffic fines or face arrest warrants.

Over the years, despite thousands of license suspensions, hefty fines and even jail time, the number of overdue tickets has steadily grown.

But, it soon could shrink.

The city has embarked on a 30 day amnesty program for delinquent drivers who, for whatever reason, never paid their dues or showed up in court.

The county is offering violators an offer hard to refuse: pay the original ticket price and additional court penalties and feed would be dropped. Driving privileges in Georgia also could be reinstated.

If drivers don't pay, they can incur an arrest warrant on top of a suspended license. The case would also be referred to an agency that collects past-due citations.

"I do think it's a good thing," said Byron Anderson. "People make mistakes speeding tickets running a red light. It happens. The economy is coming back, but getting a clear record and a little extra cash is good for everybody. I would hate to be driving around, worried about a bench warrant and worry about it. This is a fresh start."

Any outstanding failure to appear contempt fees will be waived if the citation is paid in full, in person, at the Savannah-Chatham Recorder's Court cashier's office.

The program is a win-win for everyone involved. Ticket holders will save hundreds of dollars, and the county could potentially collect millions in past due fines. 

There are over 50,000 past due citations in Chatham County totaling more than $7 million in fines.

Judge Stokes said this program is a great way for the county to reconcile past due citations before they start their new collection service alliance in October.

"We are attempting to collect those monies that have not been collected, and as we collect those monies, of course the city and county governments benefit from that," said Stokes.

Anyone who does not come forward and pay a fine or face a judge, come October, Alliance One will receive a list of outstanding citations and begin collections.

For more information on how to pay off outstanding tickets, visit here.

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