3 minute read

OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — As of the last City of Oklahoma City Council meeting, the deadline for clearing those old warrants at a reduced cost has been extended to December 31.

If you have a warrant for an unpaid ticket on a Class A offense dated before Dec. 31, 2019, you are eligible to participate in this program that has already helped hundreds to clear old warrants that continue to build up fines if not cleared.

People who avoid paying off or clearing warrants can be arrested and sent to jail or can be denied their driver license renewal.

Tickets add up

Here’s an example given by the City of Oklahoma City staff:  An overdue speeding ticket in warrant status could cost up to $613 to resolve — $420 for fines, costs and fees, plus a $193 for a failure to appear charge. But it can be resolved for $155 during the penalty reduction program.

“Overdue tickets this old prevent people from reinstating their driving privileges with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, and there’s also an active warrant,” said Municipal Court Administrator LaShawn Thompson.

“So beyond encouraging compliance with enforcement of our ordinances, this makes sure an old speeding ticket isn’t the reason someone has trouble getting to work or to school,” Thompson added. “People can close the case and it won’t be hanging over their head anymore. It only makes sense to extend the deadline.”

The Oklahoma City Municipal Court system has been providing leadership in the state for considering the financial difficulties of some who cannot pay their fines immediately.

In 2019 Free Press reported the beginning of the program that was extended by the City Council last week.

Won’t be arrested

We interviewed Presiding Judge Philippa James in 2019 about how the court is working to lower barriers for people to get legal problems with the city – mostly traffic tickets – resolved and back into a productive financial situation.

One of the biggest hurdles, according to James, was just fear of entering the Municipal Courthouse.

If they walk in that building on their own, they are NOT going to be arrested. We are going to help them get that ticket resolved,” Judge Philippa James told Free Press about the program.

“I promise they will not get arrested if they walk in our building voluntarily,” Judge James said. “As soon as you walk in that building, your case is going to get resolved.”

Judge Philippa James speaks
“For the last several years we have been working hard to make our municipal court system more user-friendly.” – Judge Philippa James, 2017. (BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)

The new Municipal Courthouse was completed in 2017 with a building design that allows people to come in and pay their fines at windows outside the security checkpoint making it easier and faster. In many cases, people who have fines may pay them and get their tickets cleared without having to see a judge.

If you are in a financial situation that you think the court should know about, you may request a hearing before a municipal judge to determine the matter.

Call (405) 297-3898 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays) to pay the ticket or request a hearing about financial difficulties.

You can also visit okc.gov/court for an online payment link and other details.

Last Updated June 24, 2021, 11:52 AM by Brett Dickerson – Editor