For five days in September, Champaign County residents who have unpaid tickets get a break at the Circuit Clerk’s office.
The Circuit Clerk’s office will offer Champaign County’s third annual Amnesty Week from September 9-13. Amnesty Week is an opportunity for those who have unpaid traffic tickets, or past due criminal case fines and fees, to avoid collection fees and interest if they pay the originally ordered court fines and fees in their case.
Customers who take advantage of the program may save up to 30%. For example, a defendant in a misdemeanor case may have been ordered to pay a $200 fine and $500 in court costs.
If that case had not been paid by the date ordered by the judge, he or she might accrue another $300 in late fees and collection fees. For one week, the $300 will be waived if an individual pays off the entire case.
The Clerk’s Office is offering extended office hours at the courthouse in Urbana, September 9-13 only, and will also accept payments by mail if postmarked by Friday, September 13.
Individuals may even qualify to get their driving licenses reinstated when they pay all of their overdue traffic fines in full during Amnesty Week.
“This is a great opportunity for customers who have delinquent fines and fees to settle their accounts, and move forward while saving a substantial amount of money. The most rewarding part of this program is seeing customers regain legal driving privileges,” said Katie Blakeman. “Last year we were able to close 270 outstanding cases. Of those, we issued more than 200 compliance forms for the Secretary of State. Customers were then able to go directly to the DMV to renew or apply for a license. We hope to see even more participation this year.”
By law, when a defendant in a traffic, DUI, or criminal case does not pay fines and court costs by the date ordered by the judge, additional interest and collection fees can be charged. In Champaign County, 90 days after the due date, these cases are sent to Harris and Harris, a Chicago-based collection agency.
For more information on hours and forms of payment taken, visit champaigncircuitclerk.org.