Fort Bend Amnesty

People with unpaid traffic tickets and outstanding arrest warrants in Fort Bend County will soon get a chance to avoid being arrested for them. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell explains.

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Between February 1st and 28th, Fort Bend County's cities, towns, and Justice of the Peace Courts will declare an amnesty, so traffic scofflaws can come in and pay their fines without being arrested. Sugarland Warrant Officer Mike Richards says the promise of no arrest is only for people who actually come to court and pay up. Anyone who's stopped somewhere else for a new offense will be arrested if the officer finds they have outstanding warrants.

"The amnesty just takes place if they get to the court room. In the meantime if they happen to get stopped out there, then of course that officer may end up arresting them regarding that outstanding warrant. So it would be advisable to be careful, and then of course make it to those courts and take care of your business so you can avoid being arrested."

Richards says when the amnesty period runs out, the combined warrant divisions will start serving the remaining warrants and people will be arrested no matter where they live or work. They'll even arrest people who live in Houston, if they owe a ticket in Fort Bend. That's why it would be a good idea for them to take advantage of the amnesty.

"It's gonna benefit individuals that are scared to come to court because they think they're going to be arrested if they come to court, so this will really help them out. By coming they don't have to worry about being arrested and of course they can take care of their responsibility with the courts during that amnesty time."

This will be Fort Bend County's third general traffic amnesty. Richards says the last time they did it in 2003 more than 600 people jumped at the chance to clear their records without going to jail. He says he hopes at least that many will do it this time. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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