It is a fact, the number of drivers showing up in justice court in DeSoto County who can't pay their traffic fines is increasing.
"The court is just like any other business during down economic times," said DeSoto County Justice Court Judge Ken Adams. "We have to get creative to collect our money."
Can't pay the fine? You have another option, if you can show proof that the fine would be an extreme hardship.
"Community service is a way to pay fines, has been a positive thing, and it's been used a little more in the past few years," Judge Adams said.
More and more offending drivers these days are opting for community service, picking up trash, and sprucing up towns in DeSoto County.
"It's all non-violent offenders. It's nothing that involves a victim. It can be anything from speeding to not stopping at a stop sign, to not having automobile insurance," the judge said.
In Mississippi, not paying the fine could land you in jail. Judge Adams said that given the option of community service or going to jail, most traffic offenders choose community service. To get in the program, the offending driver has to pay $35 to the probation company.
"Of course the $35 is paid by them and it's cheaper than me jailing them for a simple fine like speeding," Judge Adams said. "Jailing them is allowable, but at the same time if they can work it off by community service going to jail, the fee could be as high as $100 per day, and we save the jail fee by allowing them to be on probation and complete the community service program."
Get caught speeding and can't pay your fine, you may wind up cleaning up Old Towne Olive Branch, where more than two dozen traffic offenders have been put to work recently after the company that used to take care of the landscaping in Old Towne closed up shop.
"Instead of just picking up trash we can extend it to actually pulling grass out of the sidewalk cracks to watering plants," Jude Adams said. "Actually planting plants on some occasions is what we have moved to in the last three months. We've had 30 people in the last three months involved in the program in Old Towne.
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