Owe court fines in Butler County? Some are being reduced amid coronavirus

The Butler County Area Courts, I, II, and III located in Oxford, Hamilton and West Chester Twp. will be conducting a fine amnesty during the period lasting until May 22.

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People who have past-due fines in the three area courts can have a portion of those fines waived if they pay half the amount that they owe, according to Larry Withrow, the courts’ chief bailiff. They will also have to pay the court costs of $125. In most cases, the court counts are contained in the total amount owed.

Upon payment of court costs and half of the outstanding fines, the court will waive the remaining fine and any collection fees in the defendant’s case. At that time, the court will lift all license forfeitures and vehicle registration blocks associated with that fine.

If people are unable to pay half the fine, but are able to pay at least $50, they will be given a new court date to appear in front of the judge to discuss payments of the remainder of the fine owed.

Anyone with an outstanding warrant for a misdemeanor who can pay $125 for the court costs will have the case rescheduled for a new hearing, when the warrant will be recalled. An in-person appearance is required.

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This provision does not apply to charges of domestic violence, assault and violations of a protection order.

People who voluntarily appear will not be arrested, according to Withrow. Other arrangements could be made for those charges by calling the court.

Court cost funds are a key source of funding to keep area court running. During the current slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Withrow said amnesty is being offered to generate funds and clear warrants and cases.

With most receiving a stimulus payment in the next few weeks, Withrow is hoping people will take advantage of the offer.

“With the stimulus package coming out, maybe we have some incentive for people to pay up,” he said.

There are 5,679 warrants for the three courts, and 4o to 50 percent of those are due to nonpayment of fines.

Anyone can find out how much they owe in fines, or if they have an active warrant, by accessing www.bcareacourts.org and entering his or her name, or by calling the court at 513-523-4748 (Area 1-Oxford), 513-887-3459 (Area II-Hamilton), and 513-887-3570 (Area III-West Chester 513-867-5070).

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