Locals who have outstanding warrants for failure to pay fines in Cherokee County will have a chance to get those squared away next month without fear of being taken into custody.
Special District Judge Sandy Crosslin said this isn't a ruse to get criminals in one place so they can be rounded up and carted off to jail. The goal is to help people who are delinquent on their payments to take care of business.
"If anyone in our county has an outstanding warrant for failure to pay, they can come into the courthouse and the warrant will be recalled," said Crosslin. "They will not go to jail, and we will work out payment arraignments with them."
There are currently 4,685 failure-to-pay warrants issued to residents in Cherokee County. District Court Clerk Lesa Rousey Daniels said she believes this will be a great opportunity for individuals to get back on track.
"They would be able to pay something they can afford, and it's better for them to be able to pay consistently than to have this hanging over their heads," said Daniels. "It helps to give them a fresh start."
Crosslin said determining how much each person could pay toward outstanding fines will be made on a case-by-case basis, and the court relies on a payment review listing called the "Rule 8 Docket."
The purpose of the docket is to arrange payments of court costs by setting up a monthly plan based on one's budget.
"The goal is to keep people paying regularly at an amount they can afford," said Crosslin. "Because if we set them up at $150 and they can't pay but $50, we've set them up for failure."
Typically, when an individual fails to appear at the review hearing and is behind - or misses a payment - a warrant will be issued for his or her arrest.
Crosslin reiterated that those who have an outstanding warrant for failure to pay will not be arrested if they come to the courthouse on the specific day.
"They show up on that day and they don't make an appointment or call. Now if they get arrested [for something else] between now and that day, they're going to go to jail, because they have a warrant," said Crosslin. "But if they come in on that day, they will not go to jail and they will have their warrant recalled."
Crosslin said Cherokee County residents who have a warrant for failure to pay can come to the third floor of the Cherokee County Courthouse on Friday, March 6, between 9 a.m and 3 p.m.
Those who are unsure whether they have a warrant can call the court clerk's office at 918-456-0691 or check ODCR.com.