Work off city court fines? Program could allow for community service

Published 3:46 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Beginning in January, those with limited financial means facing fines and fees in Brewton’s municipal court could have an alternative way to cover those costs.
Now, instead of paying hefty fines in cash, some may have the option to work off the costs by doing community service.
City Clerk Steve Yuhasz said the program will be available to those who meet certain financial conditions and only those facing charges from Jan. 1, 2015, forward.
“We have many indigent people in our court system,” Yuhasz said. “Currently, if someone is pulled over for a speeding ticket or driving without a licenses or the like, they are given a cash fine.
“Those fines can add up quickly,” he said. “Many times folks have sizeable fines and fees for violations. If we offer a program to allow them to do community service, it’s a win-win for all involved.”
The program would be available to those facing non-serious traffic offenses.
“For example, driving with license revoked or driving without insurance,” Yuhasz said. “But if you are charged with driving while under the influence or reckless driving, the program will not be available to you.”
Defendants will have to ask to participate in the program, Yuhasz said.
“Applicants will be handled on a case-by-case basis, and it must also be approved by the judge,” he said of participation. “Everyone will also be represented by legal counsel to make it as fair, equal and just of a process that we can.”
Forms and procedures are in place, he said.