Oklahoma City to kick off penalty reduction program to reduce overdue fines

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A new program to reduce fines for outstanding low-level offenses was approved unanimously by Oklahoma City Council this week.

“It brings revenue in the door and it reduces administrative time and trouble dealing with 116,000 fines,” Ward 8 Council Member Mark Stonecipher said.

Councilman Mark Stonecipher presented an amnesty program in California that would help clear outstanding warrants.

While a majority of people are paying their tickets on time, about 15% do not.

“We've sent those cases to collections plus made in-house calls and things of that nature, so we would like to address the outstanding warrants that we have in our warrant portfolio essentially,” Court Administrator LaShawn Thompson said.

Now, the penalty reduction program will apply to those with outstanding warrants prior to July 1, 2017. It will only affect those with a "Class A” traffic or criminal offense.

“It could be disorderly conduct, possession of marijuana and traffic, of course,” Thompson said.

Tickets for running a stop sign or speeding can cost more than $600 when someone fails to appear for their arraignment.

“I just think there`s a number of things. 'I may not have the money.' I`ve seen where people may have been living in Oklahoma at that time, moved to another state,” Thompson said.

The program will only last until next March.

The goal is to clear out the $29 million worth of unpaid warrants.

“This is about come in, do the right thing so that you, the person who has the warrants, can get your life back on the right path,” Thompson said.

Again, this is only for fines before July 1, 2017. The fines must be paid in full.

Parking tickets are not included.

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