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Courts offering amnesty for fines

There is such a thing as a second chance, as Yakima County District Court officials in Yakima and Grandview this month are offering a program that provides amnesty for fines, fees and collections.

The program isn't intended to eliminate the fines, but to reduce the fees and make it more manageable for motorists to pay their outstanding fines.

In an effort to help citizens regain their driving licenses and reduce debt owed to courts and their collection agencies for unpaid fines and fees, Yakima County District Court is offering a "court fines amnesty program" throughout the month of May.

"This is an opportunity that should not be ignored by those that owe fines and fees to the court," said District Court Presiding Judge Kevin M. Roy.

Designed to help those with outstanding traffic tickets and fines, Yakima County District Court and Grandview Municipal Court will be offering reductions for past-due accounts, working with their collection agency to waive interest charges and a significant portion of collection costs.

The court is offering the program from May 1 through May 31, 2009. Those with outstanding tickets or fines should contact Yakima County District Court directly by calling 509-574-1840.

Clerks will also be able to provide names of other courts where fines may be outstanding.

One of the main goals of the program is to assist citizens with regaining driver's licenses after being revoked due to unpaid fines and fees.

Once tickets are paid in full and reported to the court, the court will notify the Washington State Department of Licensing to clear the driving record. The driver may be able to obtain a valid driver's license 48 hours later if no other offense on the driving record prevents it.

More than 100 courts throughout the state are participating in similar debt reduction programs throughout the month of May.

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