Houston offers amnesty to those with unpaid traffic tickets

Got any unpaid traffic tickets?
KTRK By Cynthia Cisneros

(6/04/07 - KTRK/HOUSTON) - A program in place in Harris County can save you some money, and more importantly, get you out of trouble. The problem is not too many folks seem to know about it.

While his feet may appear fine, it's a condition known as 'lead foot' that keeps landing Richard Matthews in municipal court, this time to pay a two-year-old traffic fine for speeding.

"I got a notice in the mail about a week ago that says you come in, you take care of it," he said. "What they'll do is drop the failure to appear. So that was, like, $260 that you save."

It didn't take Matthews long to pay. The lines are relatively short, all the more reason, says the city of Houston, to pay up now.

"It's human nature to tend to wait until the last minute on something. And this really is not the time to do that," said Gwendolyn Goins with Houston municipal courts. "There is the potential for crowds and right now, we don't have any."

The amnesty program is for people with delinquent traffic tickets or citations received by the city of Houston. You have to pay the fine, but other penalties, such as late fees, will be waived.

# Here's how to pay: In person
# By telephone
# By mail
# By wire transfer
# Online."Have you ever forgotten you've gotten a ticket," we asked ticket recipient Kam Bodie.

"Yes, I have," he said.

"How do you forget that?" we asked.

"You just lose your ticket and you forget your date, and the next thing you know, you have a warrant for your arrest," he said.

For some, the amnesty program is better than the alternative offered by the city.

"They had a warrant out for me and I didn't even know about it," said ticket recipient Johnny Brown.

"How do you avoid that from now on?" we asked him.

"Start paying for it when you get the ticket, pay it off immediately and get it settled," he said. "If you don't, then it's going to haunt you."

If you want to know how to pay online, click here to get linked to the Houston municipal court system to pay online. This amnesty program ends on June 15.
(Copyright 2007, KTRK-TV)