Crime

$11 million in old fines are owed in Moss Point. Here’s how you can avoid arrest.

Moss Point has a problem in collecting old fines — $11 million to be precise.

The money owed comes from more than 30,000 misdemeanor warrants, court personnel said.

People who owe fines can avoid a jail stay by requesting amnesty, but only for a limited time. Amnesty allows those who take advantage of it to pay off their court fines without fear of being arrested at work, home or during a traffic stop.

Through April 30, you can request amnesty by visiting the court. By doing so, you will also avoid warrant fees and late penalties. A judge will dismiss your bench warrant and you will get a court date to make arrangements to pay your fines.

“It’s beneficial for the city to collect the fines and it’s beneficial for those who owe them to pay up and clear their record,” Interim Police Chief Brandon Ashley said.

Felony warrants don’t qualify for amnesty.

There’s a few stipulations. To qualify, you must be wanted on a misdemeanor warrant for one of these reasons:

  • Non-violent charges for failure to pay fine and costs.
  • Failure to complete an ordered work program
  • Failure to complete or comply with probation.

If you qualify, go to Moss Point Municipal Court from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Or you call 228-475-0300, ext. 7313, for more information. The court is at 4200 Bellview Avenue.

Payments can be made in full or in partial payments. The court accepts cash, money orders and credit cards.

“Hopefully people will hear about this and take advantage of it,” Ashley said.

Closing out cases mean less people are arrested and that reduces the number of people jailed, he said. It also reduces the cost of housing inmates until they can appear before Judge Keith Miller.

The amnesty program started Thursday.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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