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Monday, March 18,2013

Off the hook

New amnesty program to benefit those with parking, traffic and court debts

by Andy Balaskovitz

Thursday, March 3 — For nearly 3,000 people with outstanding warrants from fees due to the city, Lansing officials are giving you a break from potential jail time.

Starting Friday, 2,775 people with warrants out for their arrest for not paying traffic or court fees will have the chance to come forward and pay at least a portion of the fine without facing jail time.

“It allows you to come in and pay fines and costs without coming before a judge or facing possible jail time,” said Anethia Brewer, 54-A District Court administrator.

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The program lasts until April 29 and does not apply to individuals with felony or other criminal-related warrants.

You will be required to pay at least half of the balance owed. The 54-A District Court requires you pay the remaining balance within 30 days after that but is willing to set up a payment plan if that’s not possible. If the remaining balance is not paid, the warrant will be reissued.

Payments can be made in person at City Hall, over the phone by credit card or by a check or money order in the mail.

The court is working with the Lansing Police Department on the program.

Brewer said the last time the district court had such an amnesty program was in the early 1990s. Now is a good time to try and recoup costs because it’s income tax return season, she said.

A list of warrants are posted on the 54-A District Court website, via www.lansingmi.gov.

The 2,775 outstanding traffic- and court-related warrants represent nearly $1.1 million owed to the city. There are about 7,000 outstanding warrants, including more serious offenses, in the city’s tracking system, Brewer said.

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