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Municipal Courts Announce Amnesty Program; Citizens Urged To Pay Court Orders

By: CICELY MITCHELL
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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) If you have lingering, outstanding or delinquent court matters, you are being urged to take care of those matters immediately.

In an announcement released Tuesday by the City of Houston Municipal Courts, the municipal courts system is offering its 2013 Amnesty Program which is available now through 11:59 p.m., Saturday, February 9, 2013. “Court officials are encouraging anyone who has delinquent court matters to take advantage of this opportunity to resolve cases at a discounted rate,” added officials with the Houston Municipal Courts.

“Now is the time for anyone with a delinquent case to come forward and resolve your court matters, because you have the opportunity to save a lot of money, hundreds of dollars in some cases,” stated Director and Presiding Judge, Barbara E. Hartle in a press release.

“We are available for anyone who has questions; just call us at 311 if we can be of assistance. There is also information regarding our programs on our website,” added Judge Hartle.

The most delinquent traffic and non-traffic citations that were delinquent on or before October 21, 2012 will be eligible for Amnesty discounts. However, previously adjudicated cases, capias pro fine cases, parking as well as “Red Light Camera” citations are not eligible for the Amnesty program.

Residents who need to resolve legal matters that fall under Amnesty, are being urged to take advantage of the program to ensure they will not be arrested during any upcoming warrant sweeps when cheaper amnesty rates will no longer be available. Once the matter is resolved, residents are also being asked to file all necessary paperwork that provides proof that legal matters were resolved.

The Houston Municipal Courts system has also provided a “2013 Amnesty Program FAQ’s”

Why are you doing this?
To close cases for which all other means of resolution have been unsuccessful.

What kinds of cases are eligible for Amnesty rates?
Most delinquent traffic and non-traffic citations that were delinquent on or before October 21, 2012 will be eligible for Amnesty discounts. Previously adjudicated cases, capias pro fine cases, parking citations and Red Light Camera citations are not eligible for Amnesty. Citizens may visit the Municipal Courts website or call 3-1-1 to find out if they have eligible Amnesty cases.

What do I do if I have a delinquent parking citation?
Parking citations are not eligible for Amnesty rates.

How can I find out if I have warrants?
Dial Houston’s Helpline at 3-1-1, visit the website at www.houstontx.gov/courts or visit any City of Houston Municipal Court.

What are my options if I find out I do have warrants?
You may pay the fines at the applicable Amnesty rates. You may also be able to obtain a bond and have your case(s) reset for a new court date. You always have the option to seek legal advice from an attorney.

If I come to court to pay, will I be arrested?
It is not the policy of Houston Municipal Courts to arrest people who visit our courthouse to inquire about their delinquent cases. We encourage everyone to come in voluntarily to resolve their cases.

The following payment options are available:

1. Online-www.texas.gov/COHTicketPay. (Eligible cases on this site have been adjusted to display Amnesty rates. Cases that have a balance of “00.00” cannot be selected for payment; however, these cases will be dismissed once the underlying case is paid in full.)

2. By Phone- Call 713.837.0311 or 3-1-1 (8am- 8pm, Monday thru Friday)

3. By Mail- Municipal Courts, AMNESTY PROGRAM, P.O. Box 4996, Houston, TX 77210-4996

4. Western Union- (Ticket Texas)

5. In Person- Any of the Houston Municipal Court facilities can take payment in person. Click here to get additional information.

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