Clean slate for unpaid traffic tickets, misdemeanors

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) – This weekend, there’s help for those with outstanding warrants in St. Louis. Better Family Life is hosting its annual amnesty program at St. Louis Community College.

If you’ve got an outstanding warrant from an unpaid traffic ticket, misdemeanor or unresolved child support case, the Amnesty Project will help you lift that burden.

Brandy Roddy got a speeding ticket, but never paid the fine.

“It becomes, ‘Do you have the money to do that?’” Roddy said. “At this point, we’re choosing between, ‘Do I pay these fines, or do I pay my rent? Or do I eat?’”

It’s a difficult choice many have to make. But when they choose food or rent over paying fines, they could end up behind bars, with an even bigger debt to pay.

The Amnesty Project, now in its 15th year, helps break that cycle. Roughly 30 municipalities within the St. Louis area participate.

“It’s really going to free people up to fully participate in employment, in housing, and access resources they need to improve the quality of their life,” said James Clark, Better Family Life.

To participate, you’ll pay a $10 processing fee, receive a voucher, and take it to court. Your warrant is then lifted and you’re given a new court date.

Roddy, who successfully participated in the program in 2012, said, “You got right in, you got your paper and you walked out. It was that simple.”

“It was a weight lifted off, because driving around with a warrant is kind of scary.”

The program also has an impact on those who help, including Brandon Clark, who keeps himself out of jail by helping his friends do the same.

“If I can approach them, from my point of view, and help them come down here to amnesty and get their warrants cleared, it makes me feel better, like it’s meant for me to do that,” Clark said.

The Amnesty Project also includes a legal expo, where you can free legal advice on a variety of issues from attorneys.

If you can’t make it this weekend, the program will also be held two more days at St. Louis Community Colleges: on Wednesday, August 5 at STLCC Florissant-Valley from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., then on Saturday, August 8 at STLCC Meramec, also from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information call 314-381-8200.