Posted on: December 20, 2012

People with outstanding fines for misdemeanors in Laurel can clear up their cases without having to pay the full amount thanks to an upcoming Judge’s Amnesty Program. 

The amnesty period begins January 1, 2013 and continues through March 31, 2013. During that time, anyone with a fine in the Laurel Municipal Court can satisfy that fine by paying fifty cents on the dollar on the fine portion of the penalty and one hundred percent of the state assessment.

Municipal Court Judge Cecelia Arnold said that there are presently in excess of 52,000 cases with outstanding fines totaling more than $15.5 million dollars in Laurel’s municipal court.
This is the second amnesty program that Arnold has implemented during her tenure at Laurel Municipal Court. The first program ran for forty-five days, beginning on March 5, 2010 and netted some $30,000 in fines. “We believe this year’s program will clear up a lot more fines than the program in 2010. It will be running for ninety days, instead of forty-five, and will begin in January when a lot of people will be getting their tax refunds,” Arnold said.

“The City of Laurel is aware that paying off fines may be difficult during challenging times,” Arnold continued. “This year’s program has the potential to generate a great deal of revenue since participants will have the option to pay off one or all their fines. In 2010, participants had to pay the full 50% of all fines due in one lump payment.”

The people who stand to benefit the most from this program are individuals who have pending contempt warrants for failure to pay fines. Anyone with an outstanding fine qualifies for the amnesty program, including fines for public drunkenness, simple assaults, domestic assaults, shoplifting and disturbances.  The amnesty covers any fine with Laurel Municipal Court – no matter how old or new.

Under current state law, a person convicted to contempt of court faces up to 6 months in jail and additional fines up to $1000.00.  Individuals taking part in the Judge’s Amnesty Program will benefit by having the pending contempt warrants dismissed. Persons who have a pending charge for misdemeanor other than contempt will still have to be processed in the usual way for that charge.

Anyone wanting to learn more about the Judge’s Amnesty Program is encouraged to contact the Laurel Municipal Court at 601-425-4711 and speak to a court clerk.  The court is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with the exception of the noon hour and holidays and is located at 317 South Magnolia Street, in the Laurel Police Department.