Yakima County offers amnesty program for outstanding fines
YAKIMA, Wash. - Yakima County District Court is helping people with outstanding traffic tickets and misdemeanor fines by offering an amnesty program.
The program began on July 10 and allows people to pay off fines while waiving interest fees and decreasing the collection costs.
District Court Manager Therese Murphy said this isn’t the first time the courts offered this program and it probably won’t be the last.
“We'll always probably do an amnesty because any amount of money and any accounts we can clear up, benefits the courts and benefits the citizen,” she said.
However, there are a few exceptions to this program, bankruptcy and garnishment cases do not qualify. Other than that, anyone can take advantage no matter how big or small their fines are.
Since the start of the program in July, through the end of August, 186 accounts were paid off.
Yakima County Collections Services Office Administrator Shonna Stroud said she noticed an increase of people coming in to take part in the program.
“The second month was busier with people calling in than the first month, but also people knew and they were planning," she said. "There is a lot of people we've seen taking care of older tickets and have been able to take a lot of interest off."
Murphy said one of the biggest reasons people take advantage of the program and clear up their accounts is to get their driver’s license back.
“Most people really are interested in this program not necessarily to clear up their financial matters, but more because they want their license back and the only way that's going to happen... if they actually clear up all their financial issues with the court,” she said.
The program runs through September 10, but since that falls on a Sunday, the collection services will be accepting payments on Monday September 11.