REMINDER: Traffic Offenders Have Until the End of the Month to Reschedule New Court Dates Before Going Back into Warrant Status

Court to Extend Hours to Accommodate More People

December 18, 2014 | 5 min reading time
gavel court

Update 12.29.2014

Since October 1, 2014, when the City of St. Louis automatically lifted more than 220,000 arrest warrants stemming from minor traffic violations, more than 4,500 people have scheduled a new court date to avoid going back into warrant status at the end of the year.

In the past week alone, nearly 800 people have taken advantage of the grace period offered by the City to get their affairs in order. That leaves more than 70,000 other people facing warrants again if they do not schedule a new court date by close of business on December 31, 2014.

Beginning today, December 29, 2014, through Wednesday, December 31, 2014, the Municipal Court will extend its hours from7 a.m.to 6 p.m.to give people even greater opportunity to schedule a new court date.

Warrants that stemmed from moving and non-moving traffic violations, except for alcohol-related charges, DWI/DUI, and leaving the scene of an accident, have been canceled, free of charge. New court dates also are granted without charge, but offenders must get a new date to satisfy their obligations to the law.

People facing minor traffic offenses can search the City's Municipal Court website for their name, date of birth, and zip code. They can then schedule a new court date by coming to the Municipal Court at 1520 Market Street (enter off 16th Street) or by calling the Court at (314) 622-3231 for more information.

In addition to asking the media and social service providers to help the City spread the word about this robust warrant forgiveness opportunity, the City also mailed postcards to traffic offenders to let them know about the forgiveness and how to get a new court date.

"More than 4,500 people can now breathe a little easier because they have taken advantage of this prime opportunity to get their affairs in order," Mayor Francis Slay said. "A missed court date for a minor traffic violation should not stand in the way of a job, access to housing, or anything else."

Just last week, the St. Louis Municipal Court alsoadopted a new rule to take into account violators' ability to pay when deciding the appropriate punishment for minor traffic and municipal offenses.

"The point of enforcing traffic and other laws is to change behavior and increase public safety, not to break the bank for poor and working class people. A $100 fine for someone working a minimum wage job is a real burden. For them, the punishment exceeds the severity of the crime," Mayor Slay said. "So, out of fairness, I directed our four municipal court judges to issue a new rule to make it clear that when we sentence people for violating municipal law, the punishment should be in proportion to violators' ability to pay. It will also allow the judges to give violators more time to pay their fines, if that is appropriate. This formalizes a practice that most of our judges follow."

The St. Louis Municipal Court also has special dockets, payment plans, and alternatives to fines and incarceration, like community service, for people who cannot afford to pay. The City of St. Louis also offers warrant forgiveness anytime during regular business hours for first-time hardship cases.

The warrant forgiveness opportunity and new court order are two of several initiatives and policy changes from the Slay Administration over the past four months to make the City more fair and more just. Others include:

  • Establishing civilian oversight of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department;
  • Recruiting and hiring more African American police officers;
  • Providing for independent review of all officer-involved shootings;
  • Putting in place hiring practices that give convicted felons an opportunity at a second chance;
  • Expanding Stl Youth Jobs program for at-risk young people;
  • Training young African Americans to enter construction apprentice programs.

Update 12.10.2014

Traffic offenders, whose outstanding warrants were lifted by the City of St. Louis in October, have until the end of the month to get a new court date to face the charges against them. If they do not schedule a new court date, they will go back into warrant status.

Warrants that stemmed from moving and non-moving traffic violations, except for alcohol-related charges, DWI/DUI, and leaving the scene of an accident, have been canceled. New court dates are granted without charge, but offenders must get a new date to satisfy their obligations to the law.

To date, only about 3,300 people have taken advantage of the warrant forgiveness, which has cleared more than 10,000 total cases. Nearly 71,000 others face warrants again if they do not schedule a new court date by December 31, 2014.

People facing minor traffic offenses can search the City's Municipal Court website for their name, date of birth, and zip code. They can then schedule a new court date by coming to the Municipal Court at 1520 Market Street (enter off 16th Street) or by calling the Court at (314) 622-3231 for more information.

"We issue traffic tickets for public safety, not as a revenue generator," Mayor Francis Slay said. "We will hold people accountable for traffic offenses. But, a missed court date for a minor traffic violation should not stand in the way of a job, access to housing, or anything else. It's a balancing act. We want people to take care of their obligations under the law, but we understand that it can be burdensome and worrisome.  We want to make it easier for people to get their affairs in order, but they must come in to do so."

Inability to pay a fine will not land a traffic offender in jail. The St. Louis Municipal Court has special dockets, payment plans, and alternatives to fines and incarceration, like community service, for people who cannot afford to pay. The City of St. Louis also offers warrant forgiveness anytime during regular business hours for first-time hardship cases.

Original Post 10.1.2014

The City of St. Louis is giving minor traffic offenders with outstanding warrants a second chance to address their tickets. Today, more than 220,000 arrest warrants will automatically be canceled. The traffic offenders will have three months to get a new court date to face the charges against them.

Warrants that stem from moving and non-moving traffic violations, except for alcohol-related charges, DWI/DUI, and leaving the scene of an accident, will be canceled. New court dates will be granted without charge.

People facing minor traffic offenses will receive a postcard in the mail with instructions. If they have a different address and don't receive the postcard, they can search the City's Municipal Court website for their name, date of birth, and zip code. They can then schedule a new court date by coming to the Municipal Court at 1520 Market Street (enter off 16th Street) or by calling the Court at (314) 622-3231.

Individuals on the list for warrant forgiveness will have until December 31, 2014, to get a new court date. Those who do not schedule a new court date will go back into warrant status.

"We issue traffic tickets for public safety, not as a revenue generator," said Mayor Francis Slay. "We will hold people accountable for traffic offenses. But, a missed court date for a minor traffic violation should not stand in the way of a job, access to housing, or anything else. It's a balancing act. We want people to take care of their obligations under the law, but we understand that it can be burdensome and worrisome. We want to make it easier for people to get their affairs in order."

Inability to pay a fine will not land a traffic offender in jail. The St. Louis Municipal Court has special dockets, payment plans, and alternatives to fines and incarceration, like community service, for people who cannot afford to pay. The City of St. Louis also offers warrant forgiveness anytime during regular business hours for first-time hardship cases.

  • Department:
    Circuit Court
    Office of the Mayor
  • Topic:
    Courts and Justice System

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