Picayune Municipal Court offers online method to dispute minor citations

Published 8:40 am Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Motorists who get a ticket by a Picayune Police officer have an avenue to dispute that citation without ever stepping foot in a courtroom.

Incoming Municipal Court Clerk Tony Bounds said the system is up and running and can be found by visiting the city of Picayune’s website and looking for the municipal court tab under “Departments” on the city’s homepage. Then on the Municipal Court page, there is link embedded in the Matterhorn graphic, which can take the user to the appropriate website to file their dispute.

Outgoing Municipal Court Clerk Lisa Albritton, who is taking over the duties of the city’s special projects manager, said she put a lot of work to get this service up and running. While motorists can not dispute more serious citations, such as a DUI or a suspended driver’s license ticket, infractions such as speeding, or for an expired tag, can easily be handled through the online system.

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Once a dispute has been filed on the system, the city’s prosecutor will review the dispute and determine if they want to accept the dispute or make a counter offer to a lesser offense. Bounds said that one example is when a person is cited for an expired tag, If they can show proof that they have paid their taxes and received an up to date tag, the case can be reduced to a $50 fee. Albritton did say that there is an additional $10 fee to the user who files a dispute through Matterhorn, but that means the city does not fund the use of that service.

This service was set up to allow residents who may have difficulty taking off work to attend their court date, and those who may be without transportation.

In the past six months, the service has been used about six times, so Bounds and Albritton would like to see that number increase.

After a resolution has been agreed upon by the city’s court and the defendant, Bounds said the court can work with those who may be unable to pay their entire fine at one time. The city’s court has successfully been able to work with those who may need to utilize a payment program to settle fines.

“That compassion has really helped the community,” Albritton said.

There is also a suspended license diversion program that can help those who may have had their license suspended in Mississippi or some other state to get their license back. Bounds said that program is important to help people get back on their feet so they can get to work and be able to pay their fines.