AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s not even thanksgiving yet and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office along with other government entities found a way to offer a special gift to the community that is sure to leave them thankful.
A lot of people may not realize there is bench warrant out for their arrest until they are pulled over for a traffic stop and carried away in handcuffs. This new program saves you some embarrassment and a few dimes.
Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree announced the new program at the Sheriff’s Office during a press conference.
“Gives them the opportunity to clear these warrants without fear of arrests at a substantially reduced cost,” he explained.
That means thousands of people will get a legal rebirth in Richmond County.
“We’ve identified over 3500 warrants that date back to the 1990s,” the Sheriff said. “A defendant can pay a fine, complete some court documents and can be free and clear of any obligations to include arrest.”
It’s called the Fresh Start Initiative and its aimed at keeping people out of jail. The program launched by the Sheriff’s Office, includes the newly formed Augusta Probation Office, the Solicitor-General’s Office, State Court Judges, Clerk of Courts, Recreation & Parks Department and the Mayor’s Office. Anyone with an active outstanding State Court Traffic Bench warrant or Probation arrest warrant can get rid of it for a discount and avoid additional fees.
Sheriff Roundtree also stated during the press conference, “This program will last for two days consisting of 24 hours of amnesty. At the end of this period people who are picked up on active warrants will be arrested and processed through the normal judicial procedures.”
Mayor Hardie Davis attended the press conference also. He applauded the new program touting it is a benefit to the city.
“It keeps us from putting an additional burden on our jails just because we’re arresting individuals where they end up spending two or three days in jail only to have fines of $140, $130. This is the best way for us to attack that issue.”
A list of names and fines are already on the Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook and webpage.
Mayor Davis added this program will help people in his city live better lives.
“Letting our citizens know that the community cares about them. Their government is here to support them as they make strides to bettering their lives as well.”
The Fresh Start Initiative will be held on November 16th and 17th from 8 AM until 8 PM at the Henry Brigham Center…Senior Center.
For the complete list, click here.
Photojournalist: Gary Hipps