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October 25, 2014

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Traffic amnesty program extended after raking in millions

Hundreds line up to pay tickets before court issues warrants

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Justin M. Bowen

The customer service counter line winds throughout the building Thursday with several hundred people coming in to pay fines on the day a traffic amnesty program was extended by a week.

Traffic Amnesty Extended

 The customer service counter line winds throughout the building Thursday with several hundred people coming in to pay fines on the day a traffic amnesty program was extended by a week. Launch slideshow »

The deadline to pay outstanding traffic tickets under the Las Vegas Township Justice Court’s traffic amnesty program has been extended another week because of overwhelming response, court officials said.

The program, which started Nov. 17 and allows people to pay overdue tickets without being hit with extra penalties, had been set to expire at 5 p.m. Friday. It will now continue until 5 p.m. Feb. 13.

"This extension is a one-time event and will allow everyone wanting to clear up outstanding traffic tickets a chance to do so,” Chief Judge Ann Zimmerman said at a news conference.

After that, the Justice Court, which handles tickets issued in Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County, will begin issuing arrest warrants for all unpaid traffic tickets. Additional fines of $300 will also be added to each ticket.

With the clock ticking down on the program, hundreds of people lined up at the Regional Justice Center downtown to pay tickets. By 1 p.m., more than 1,000 people had visited the traffic department and $200,000 in fines had been collected, Zimmerman said.

Since the court sent out warnings in early December, more than $4 million in outstanding traffic fines have been collected and more than 7,000 cases closed. The court’s Web site set a record in January, bringing in $1.55 million in traffic fines, officials said.

Las Vegas resident Vahe Akopian was waiting on Thursday to pay for a speeding ticket from November.

“I didn’t expect the line to be this big,” Akopian said. “I thought it was going to take an hour or so. One of my friends told me she waited in line for three hours.”

Sanchez Winfield of Las Vegas, who was waiting to clear two $300 speeding tickets from last year, chalked up his delay to procrastination.

“Times are tough,” Winfield said. “I don’t just want to give away $300 of my money.”

Tickets can be paid in person, over the phone or online.

Tickets can be paid at the Traffic Division of the Regional Justice Center, located at 200 Lewis Ave., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The office will have special hours from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 7, to handle ticket payments.

Payments can also be made over the phone by calling 671-3444 or online at www.clarkcountycourts.us/paythefine.

Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or [email protected].

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