Amnesty for Little Rock Defendants

Some Little Rock defendants will be getting off the hooktemporarily.

The Little Rock District criminal court is offering amnesty from February 27th to April 13th.

"Some of these fines are not a whole lot of money, but they're still unpaid," said Little Rock District Court Judge Alice Lightle.

She said to get some tardy criminal court fees in the door, they are promising defendants they'll cut the late fees and they'll avoid getting arrested.

"This is an opportunity for people to not be fearful that they're going to be locked up or that they're going to have any additional fines," said Lightle.

She said it helps those facing charges like theft of property, public intoxication, and disorderly conduct.

Criminal Defense attorney, Patrick Benca said oftentimes these offenders can not afford the fines and a similar program was effective in Wrightsville and Texarkana.

"For the defendants that are out there it gives them an opportunity to get their slate wiped clean sort of speak," said Benca. He continued, "It's also a win for the court itself because now they have access to funds they didn't have access to beforehand. So, it's a cash flow."

Lightle said this will also help the jail overcrowding problem and the state is looking forward to possibly collecting the nearly $500,000 owed this year alone.

All the money goes into the state's Administration of Justice fund. It's hurting as the Department of Finance is reporting they can only pay about 80% of their allocations right now.

This does not impact traffic offenses, so if you have a late speeding ticket or parking ticket you're out of luck.