St. Louis offers amnesty to thousands with outstanding arrest warrants

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ST. LOUIS - There's a chance for St. Louis residents who have outstanding arrest warrants to get a clean start. But you have to act now.

We were are at the St. Louis Municipal Courts building in downtown St. Louis, where the amnesty program started Monday.  It means if you have an outstanding warrant and don't want to be arrested the next time you happen to get pulled over or you interact with a police officer, this is your chance for forgiveness.

The program helps individuals with minor offenses such as traffic violations. But does not apply to DUI's, leaving the scene of an accident or prostitution. There are nearly 119,000 outstanding warrants in the City of St. Louis, meaning thousands of people are at risk of going to jail. During this first day of the amnesty program, hundreds of people showed up to begin the process.  The municipal court judges immediately began will reviewing those cases today and deciding whether the warrants should be dismissed.

"When you come there's no penalty. We haven't added anything on because you missed your court date. We don't double and triple the fines. If you have a fine that's already assessed you can start paying on your original amount. When you go to the court there's no penalty we'll give you a pay plan if you need that it. If you can't pay the fine at all, we consider for you community service to work it off,” said Judge Newton McCoy, St. Louis Municipal Court Administrative Judge.

The amnesty program is aimed at dismissing warrants, not the offenses. But some of the offenses could be dismissed depending on the circumstances. The amnesty program will run tomorrow and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the St. Louis Municipal Courts building at 1520 Market Street.

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