Dellwood Municipal Court to Dismiss 1000’s of traffic charges on 3/20/15 – Find out if they are Dismissing YOUR case?
Dellwood Mayor Reggie Jones orders the Dellwood Municipal Court to Dismiss all traffic cases that were pending PRIOR TO April 11, 2012. The pardons will become effective and the cases will be Dismissed on March 20, 2015. Additionally all Failure to Appear charges and outstanding Warrants associated with those pre- April 11, 2012 cases will also be Dismissed and Recalled.
April 11, 2012 is the date that the Dellwood Police Department was dissolved and St Louis County Police Department took over patrolling in Dellwood. The Mayor was reported in the St Louis Post Dispatch as saying that these cases were problematic to prosecute since the police department is now defunct. In 2012 the Dellwood Police Department had come under fire publicly in an audit performed by St Louis County Police. It wasn’t long after that time that the Dellwood Board of Aldermen voted to dissolve the Department and contracted with St. Louis County to take over these duties. Traffic cases pending AFTER April 11, 2012 issued by the St Louis County Police Department are NOT involved in the Mayor’s pardons and remain completely unaffected by this new Amnesty Program.
The St Louis Post Dispatch reported that Mayor Jones criticized the other more recent “warrant amnesty programs” offered by other municipality courts, he claimed that those programs did not go far enough. Other local recent municipality “warrant amnesty programs” typically offer to recall warrants for the Defendant for the price range of FREE to requiring the posting of a $100 bond. Any bond is credited against any fine ultimately owed to the court or refunded. The problem is that people who have traffic court problems that resulted in failure to appear warrants usually ended up in their situation because of a lack of money to deal with the traffic court problems. Consequently, when the court waives or reduces the bond requirement to recall a warrant, that is wonderful for the Defendant that is no longer warrant temporarily; however that same Defendant is usually still broke and therefore still cannot resolve his traffic court problems. When the warrant is recalled the Defendant receives a new court date called a “return date”, if he does not appear the bond is forfeited and most likely the Defendant is warrant again. If the Defendant does appear, bond intact, and resolves his traffic case for a fine payment – now what? No money = same problem as before the warrant amnesty program.
That being said amnesty programs still do offer benefits, they allow a Defendant to at least get their warrant recalled without being required to come up with a full amount of the previously set bond. Many courts will allow a payment plan on any ultimate fines due to the court which are viable options for the working Defendants that have a steady income but cannot muster a large lump sum. In the end, it’s pretty clear that an Amnesty Program for “ticket amnesty” that outright Dismisses certain traffic cases and warrants is an incredible benefit to Defendants in financial straights, but clearly any Amnesty Program is a positive outreach gesture of good faith.
Some critics may come to argue that an outright “ticket amnesty” over “warrant amnesty” forgives irresponsibility while penalizing those Defendants who struggled financially and made large sacrifices to comply responsibly with their tickets from jump. One could argue that it could encourage irresponsibility causing people to weigh whether they really need to responsibly resolve their business only to end up one of the unlucky schmucks that paid their fines while the irresponsible now get a windfall. If this is really about concessions for past unfairness then why aren’t these cities REFUNDING paid fines as well as Dismissing the still active/warrant cases from that same pre- 4/11/12 time period? At least with “warrant amnesty” all Defendants are treated equally as to “paying their ultimate fine” but does extend time for warrant Defendants to come up with money.
Attorney at Law
Traffic Law Stop