Pelham holding court amnesty day

Published 3:31 pm Wednesday, March 14, 2012

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham Municipal Court will be giving those with certain outstanding warrants a chance to clear their records without being arrested during the city’s first court amnesty day on May 11-12.

The city currently has about 6,000 outstanding warrants, said Municipal Court magistrate Sally McDonald.

Amnesty court will be held at the Pelham Police Department and Courthouse building on Philip Davis Street on Friday, May 11 from noon-4 p.m. and on Saturday, May 12 from 8 a.m.-noon.

McDonald said amnesty court will help the Municipal Court clear its docket, help the Pelham Police Department clear its outstanding arrest warrants and help those with outstanding warrants avoid arrest and get their suspended driver’s licenses back.

When a person is issued a traffic ticket and does not appear at their city court date, the city issues a warrant for their arrest. The warrant also could suspend a person’s driver’s license.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people forget they have a ticket or move away and forget to come to court,” McDonald said. “Sometimes a person doesn’t realize their license is suspended until they get pulled over.

“This will help us clear out a lot of our outstanding cases, and it will help the Police Department clear a lot of their warrants,” McDonald said. “This is something we have wanted to do for a long time.”

McDonald said the amnesty court will cover only those who have outstanding arrest warrants for traffic tickets and probation revocation charges. Amnesty court will not cover more serious offenses, such as reckless driving, driving under the influence or misdemeanor charges.

During the amnesty court, those with outstanding warrants will be able to plead guilty before a judge and pay fines. The city will then recall the outstanding warrants to keep the person from having an arrest record.

The city will also issue a driver’s license clearance to allow the Alabama Department of Pubic Safety to reinstate any suspended driver’s licenses.

“We won’t serve any warrants on those two amnesty court days, but the warrants will remain outstanding until then,” McDonald said.

McDonald encouraged those who plan to participate in amnesty court to call Pelham Municipal Court at 620-6407 to allow court personnel to prepare files.