Villa Rica held its first-ever amnesty period in May and were pleasantly surprised that 90 of 483 outstanding warrants were cleared off the books. Those cleared warrants meant the collection of more than $16,000 in lost fines.
Chief of Police Michael Mansour said he would be shocked if as many people come forward in September as they did in May, but the amnesty period will help the police department clear more warrants off the books and allow defendants the opportunity to turn themselves in so they won’t have to continue to look over their shoulders.
“I don’t expect that (number of cleared warrants),” he said. “We don’t even expect half of that this time, but if we can clear some more up we would be thrilled to death with it.”
Most of the failure-to-appear warrants are issued when the defendant misses a court date for infractions that range from traffic violations to shoplifting. The fines collected through the Municipal Court go into the city’s general fund, so when someone doesn’t appear for court to pay their fines they are basically robbing the city of revenue.
Villa Rica police officers will begin looking for those individuals who fail to take advantage of the amnesty period after Sept. 31 and attempt to execute those warrants.
Besides having their warrant fee waived during the amnesty period, those with suspended driver’s licenses will have the opportunity to get their driver’s license back if they pay their original fine.
“We’re going to try to do it one more time because it was so successful the first time,” Mansour said. “All we got out of it the first time was positive response from everybody. They were so appreciative because they could get their license back and things like that.”
Payments will need to be paid at the Villa Rica Police Department, which is located at 101 Main Street. Forms of payments accepted are cash, check, money order, Visa or Master Card.