At a media conference at 10;00 AM January 22, 2013 Judge Barbara Hartle, presiding judge of the Houston Municipal Courts, announced a limited amnesty program for outstanding traffic citations and failure to appear notices. The program applies to unadjudicated traffic related cases delinquent as of October 21, 2012. From January 22 to 11:59 February 9, 2013, persons with fines and failure to appear (FTA) warrants may resolve their cases with some possible reductions or discounts on penalties. Those with one FTA may have the case dismiss. Those with more than one Failure to Appear notices may be able to pay half the fine..
The program does not apply to previously adjudicated cases where the defendant failed to pay a fine or complete community service, defendants in custody, or defendants with a red light camera citation.
Judge Bartle stated that at one point there were as many of 300,000 outstanding unadjudicated cases. She stated that in past amnesty programs about 10% of those eligible participated. The Judge stated that the main purpose of the program is to help citizens resolve their cases and remove outstanding warrants. Anyone with a warrant can be arrested and taken to jail immediately. In addition, the court is planning to implement a new computer system and would prefer to eliminate as many older cases as possible.
For more information, including amounts owed, the status of cases, and eligibility for the amnesty program, citizens in Houston can call the help line at 311. Those outside the area may call 713-837, 0311. Information is also available at www.houstontx.gov/courts.