City moving forward with collecting on old fines

Published 1:13 am Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Warrants are in the process of being issued for old fines, beginning with those up to three years old.

Picayune Municipal Court Clerk Michel Cooper said she will be working back three years looking for old fines for which to issue warrants . Those warrants will be issued soon. If a warrant is issued before the citizen pays the unpaid fine, then an additional $250 contempt of court fee will be added to their fine.

City Clerk Priscilla Daniel said payment for fines will be accepted in the form of cash, check, money order and now by credit or debit card with the implementation of a new machine. Citizens paying fines with a credit or debit card will be charged an additional $2.50 convenience charge. Payment with cash, check or money order will not incur a convenience charge.

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Even though records initially will be researched back only as far as three years, there are plans to check back even farther for unpaid fines from earlier dates, Cooper said.

If a warrant is issued for failure to pay a fine, that citizen’s driver’s license will be suspended, Cooper said. Currently the software used to issue notification letters is undergoing maintenance, but once that work is done Cooper said letters will be sent out notifying citizens of their unpaid fines.

Previously the city had not been suspending licenses for unpaid fines because of insufficient staff to do so, Cooper said. Now, the city will be making an effort to collect the unpaid fines by suspending driver’s licenses.