Dallas County is owed more than $200 million by drivers with unpaid traffic tickets. Beginning within a few days, Dallas County will start refusing to renew vehicle registrations for owners with unpaid fines. So if you owe money, you need to pay up before your current registration expires. Here are details in excerpts from a recent article in the Dallas Morning News:
has tried numerous ways to collect overdue fines from misdemeanor
offenders, and yet they still owe the county more than $209 million.
But scofflaws' days of skating clear could soon come to an end. Within
a matter of weeks, county officials will implement an innovative but
little-used program to block offenders' vehicle registrations until
they pay their overdue fines.
But not everyone in Dallas County is optimistic that blocking registrations will get people to pay up.
Commissioner John Wiley Price said some people will drive without valid
registrations so they can spend their money on utility bills and food.
The worsening economy will not help, he said.
crisis has placed new urgency on the county's ability to collect
overdue traffic fines. The county anticipates a budget shortfall of at
least $24 million this year. Departments are being asked to cut 10
percent of their budgets, and a tax rate increase is considered likely
this year because of slumping real estate values. Consequently, more
than 751,400 citations in Dallas County have not
been paid, according to information released by the county this week.
Many date to the 1990s and earlier. "The objective of this is to get
them to pay the money they owe," he said of scofflaws.
most counties, Dallas County gets slightly more than half of its annual
revenue from fines and fees. Other counties rely more heavily on
Fee-collection efforts are popular
because they take the burden off taxpayers. The philosophy is that
users of the criminal justice system should help pay for that system.
Dallas County's problem is that its justice of the peace courts have
not done a stellar job of collecting traffic fines, according to state
statistics. The courts have collected 51 percent of fines and fees –
the third-poorest result out of 37 counties surveyed.