JONESBORO — Craighead County District Court’s virtual amnesty program is off to a fast start and is expected to continue.
Before the pandemic, the court has set aside a few Fridays to hold amnesty sessions in person to waive fines and arrest warrants. The latest rendition is offered to Northeast Arkansans with active failure to appear warrants for nonviolent misdemeanor offenses, District Court Judge David Boling said.
“How it works is they’d send an email to Bridgett (Clifft), the head clerk, and then if they have pending charges, we’ll send it over to the prosecutor to see whatever their recommendation is,” Boling said. “Let’s say you FTA’d on a seat belt ticket. A seat belt ticket’s $60, but that FTA is $440. We’re getting rid of that $440 so you just pay your seat belt ticket and move on.”
Boling said the offering, which kicked of in mid-January, has had an overwhelming response. Since Jan. 19, 51 people have participated in the program, Clifft told The Sun on Thursday.
According to previous reporting, more than 125 opted for amnesty, saving more than $60,000.
“It’s every day that I’m getting something,” Boling said. “Our intent is to continue that out at least another month. It’s been pretty successful.”
Boling said first appearances will resume on March 1 with social distancing enforced. Several Craighead County District Court dates were previously rescheduled in late January to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Appearances set for 1 p.m. Feb. 1-3 in Jonesboro are rescheduled for March 15-17; Feb. 8-10 on April 12-14; Feb. 16-17 on June 1-2; and Feb. 22-24 to June 14-16. Lake City first appearance dates set at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 4 will be continued on March 18, Feb. 11 on April 8, Feb. 18 on April 15 and Feb. 25 to May 13.
Court appearances scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in Lake City have been rescheduled to the following dates: Thursday to April 22, Jan. 21 to April 29 and Jan. 28 to May 6.
To inquire about the amnesty program, email email@example.com with a first and last name, and full date of birth.
Fines can be paid at the drive-thru window, 410 W. Washington Ave., or pay. arcourts.gov. For more information, call 870-933-4500.