News

Municipal court offering fine amnesty

By ERICA JAHN

Staff writer

Federal Way Municipal Court is expecting to bring in more money than will be lost in interest through a ticket amnesty this month.

The cityŽ’s court, along with other court jurisdictions in the region, is waiving accrued interest on all delinquent fines until the end of October.

The collection fee will be capped at $75, usually lower than the interest, which is collected as a percentage of the fine.

Once a fine is delinquent, the court hands off the account to Alliance One, a collection agency that levies a percentage rate that becomes its fee. The city doesnŽ’t pay the firm for its services.

Once the delinquent accounts are handed off, Alliance One handles tracking of defendants and fine collection.

Court administrator Sandra Warter said Alliance One collects an average of $18,000 a month in unpaid traffic fines. On Sept. 3, the court sent out 64 cases for collections. Total dollar amount: $25,838.50.

The most common infraction is failure to have insurance, which comes with a $490 ticket, Warter said. If the fine isnŽ’t paid and the defendant fails to appear in court, the court tacks on another $48.

If that fine isnŽ’t paid, the court sends the $538 fee to Alliance One, which adds a 26 percent collection fee. That brings the total to $677.88.

Still, collecting the money for delinquent fines isnŽ’t the only reason for the amnesty.

Ž“The purpose of this amnesty is to get people to pay their fines and get a valid license again,Ž” Warter said. Ž“This would stop the cycle of (driving with a suspended license) by helping defendants acquire valid licenses.Ž”

Staff writer Erica Jahn can be reached at ejahn@fedwaymirror.com and 925-5565.

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