City of Dallas Launches Campaign to Collect on Outstanding Warrants

Recently, the City of Dallas announced the start of its "Pay Up or Get Locked UP!" campaign. Dallas Police, working with City Marshalls and a total of five local agencies, began targeting those individuals with outstanding warrants in the city.

Designed to Close Budget Gaps

With the sagging economy and budget cuts hitting cities and local communities equally hard, cities are ramping up collection efforts as a way to close budget shortfalls, and Dallas is no exception. According to The Dallas Morning News, the city has over 450,000 outstanding warrants with unpaid fines totaling nearly $99 million.

As part of the initiative, the city placed ads in newspapers, on a billboard and sent letters to 74,000 individuals with outstanding warrants, all to let the public know about the enhanced collection effort. A recent report by WFAA.com states that nearly 134,000 people have unpaid fines in the city and could be affected by the program.

Scofflaw Program

The City of Dallas also participates in the Scofflaw program. This law, passed in 1997 gives the county authority to deny vehicle registration if the person owes a past due fine or tax. The program was designed to help cities collect unpaid fines and generate otherwise uncollected revenue.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Garland was the first city in the area to pilot the program in 2009, with Dallas other cities following shortly after. The Morning News report also notes that Dallas County refused over 600 motor vehicle registration applications in the first nine months of the program. The city of Dallas also places a hold on driver's license renewals if the person has an outstanding warrant or fine.

Many cities, including Dallas, allow those with warrants to pay their fines online. Officials stress that the only way to avoid a hold on a driver's license or vehicle registration is to come forward and pay the fine.

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