Those who get a traffic ticket in Southaven have another reason to attend to it right away and not forget about it.
With a change in Mississippi law on July 1, the power to suspend drivers licenses for failure to appear in court and settle a traffic ticket case was taken away.
However, Southaven Municipal Court Judge David Delgado explained that offenders should not ignore those tickets. They will not go away and those who are tagged with a ticket need to settle the issue and not ignore it.
Not attending to the ticket may result in an arrest warrant.
“Here in Southaven, if someone fails to appear on a traffic ticket, they will receive a notice from the Clerk of Court staff,” Delgado said. “It will say that the person has missed their court date and they now have 21 days to come to court and either pay it in full or there will be a certain court date where they must appear. If the individual fails to appear at that time, a warrant is issued for that person’s arrest, for failure to appear in court and contempt of court.”
Delgado said people not coming in to deal with traffic tickets has become a common problem in Municipal Court. The process, he hopes, will provide some more teeth to the issue.
“You still have the right to contest the ticket, but you need to appear,” said Delgado. “You need to either pay the ticket in full or you need to appear on your scheduled court date and, at least speak to someone, contest it and have it scheduled for a hearing.”
With the new policy in place, courts are now actually giving people charged with traffic offenses two chances to have it settled: on the first scheduled date and again three weeks after the Court’s office issues the letter that states the alleged offender had missed the original date.
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.