McALLEN — The municipal court here is extending its amnesty period one more month as residents continue to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Violators of traffic laws who failed to show up for their day in court will now have additional time to make arrangements to take care of their tickets without fear of being arrested or receiving any additional fines,” the city announced in a news release this week.
The extension of McAllen’s Municipal Court Failure to Appear Amnesty Program runs until Oct. 31.
If a person received a citation from a McAllen police officer, a McAllen Independent School District peace officer or an officer with South Texas College in McAllen, they may be eligible to have late fees waived, but only if a police officer is not already actively looking for the offender.
“Offering the amnesty, that is, not arresting those who have failed to make arrangements on their outstanding traffic violations, is a great way to help bring in individuals who, for whatever reason, did not show up on their appointed court date and are now possibly living in fear of being arrested,” McAllen Municipal Court Judge Kathleen Henley stated in the release. “The amnesty provides them with an opportunity to pay, or make arrangements to pay their fines, without receiving additional fees and more importantly, without fear of being arrested.”
Violators can also set up payment plans or request to complete community service instead. In order to convince the court, they must provide proof of income or hardship by providing pay stubs, proof of government assistance, and mortgage or rent payments, as well as utility bills and car payments.
Those arrangements can be made through email at firstname.lastname@example.org; by mail at McAllen Municipal Court, 1601 N. Bicentennial Blvd., McAllen, TX 78501; or by phone at 681-2900 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
“With COVID-19 still active in the area, the court will be glad to work remotely with persons who are sick, in quarantine or are vulnerable categories who have received citations,” the release stated. “However, the court lobby is open for payments as well.”
Those visiting the lobby will be asked to wear a mask and keep at least six feet apart from others in the building.
Fines may also be paid online at www.mcallen.net.