Racking Up Tickets in Birmingham? It’s Amnesty Time

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Sherrel Wheeler Stewart,WBHM 90.3 FM

If you have unpaid parking tickets in Birmingham or owe fines for minor traffic violations, the city is giving you two months to pay it off without extra penalty.

The City Council approved an amnesty period Tuesday that begins July 17 and ends Sept. 17. This allows drivers to avoid the extra penalty for late payment. For example, an additional $10 is added to typical parking tickets that are not paid on time.

Chief Municipal Judge Andre Sparks says it’s been four years since the city offered ticket amnesty.

“If you have amnesty too much, people just wait on amnesty to pay,” Sparks said. The tickets can be paid at Municipal Court. The court office is open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday –Thursday. The office closes on Friday at 4:30 p.m. People with questions about their tickets can call 254-2166.

Sparks says people with outstanding tickets can pay without fear of being arrested.

“We don’t arrest citizens in our building unless there is a disturbance,” he says. “Some people operate in fear. They think it’s set up to come in and get picked up.”

Darrell O’Quinn, chairman of the council’s transportation committee, says as of May, the city had more than $3 million worth of outstanding parking tickets, with an estimated 100,000 people owing those fines.

“Some owed thousands and were egregious offenders,” O’Quinn says.