Duluth offers warrant amnesty

DULUTH - Nothing spoils a holiday party like getting busted on outstanding warrants.

That's the opinion of Duluth city officials who've announced an amnesty period for all unpaid "failure to appear" warrants issued by city police.

Until Nov. 26, anyone who pays the outstanding warrants in full will receive a discount of up to $150. The deal doesn't extend to probation warrants or any felony cases, said Sharon Wallace, Duluth Clerk of Court.

Duluth police are actively searching for offenders who've failed to appear on misdemeanor warrants for offenses such as DUI, possession of marijuana and shoplifting. Why now? The city's trying to purge a backlog of about 1,200 outstanding cases, Wallace said.

"The holidays are coming, so maybe people want to make sure they can be out and about safely," Wallace said. "You can avoid the embarrassment of possible arrest from your home or business and the ride to jail by taking advantage of this."

Some civil charges such as red-light camera violations are exempt from the failure to appear warrants, though they do apply to outstanding speeding tickets, Wallace said.

"The best thing would be for anyone who isn't sure to give us a call," she said. "We'll let them know."

The amnesty period is modeled after those of several other jurisdictions who've enjoyed successes, Wallace said. The city of Lawrenceville Municipal Court conducted a similar amnesty period throughout August last year.

Not sure how much - or if - you owe? Call the city clerk's office at 770-623-2771 between

8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Payments can be made in person at Duluth Municipal Court, 3276 Buford Highway, Duluth. All warrants must be paid in full with cash, money order or credit card, officials said.

By paying, those with outstanding warrants will receive paperwork to clear driver's licenses with the Department of Driver Services. Payments must be received within the amnesty period for the discount to apply.