GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis Municipal Judge Eric Mulford has announced that the municipal court will offer a license forfeiture and registration block quick removal program during the month of March.
The program is focused on helping citizens who have had a license forfeiture or registration block imposed for failing to voluntarily pay a fine. The program is open only to residents of Gallia County whose license forfeiture or registration block was imposed by the Gallipolis Municipal Court.
Between March 1st and March 29th, anyone who has had a license forfeiture or registration block imposed for non-payment of fines can pay 50 percent of their total fine and cost amount owed to the court and have the license forfeiture or registration block lifted. Persons taking advantage of the program must set up a monthly payment plan for the remaining balance.
Payments can be made in person at the municipal court clerk’s office in the Gallipolis Justice Center, 518 Second Avenue, Gallipolis, Ohio 45631, most weekdays between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.; by mailing a check or money order payable to “Gallipolis Municipal Court” to the address listed above; online with a credit or debit card at gmcourt.org; or by calling Court Solutions at (844) 390-3558, although the provider does add an extra fee for taking payment by telephone.
The clerk of courts office will stay open until 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 21st to accommodate anyone who may work during the daytime who needs to appear to sign a payment plan. Because the court will be open late on that day, the court will close at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 22.
Mulford took the opportunity in announcing the program to remind the community about the Ohio Reinstatement Fee Amnesty Initiative available through July 31, 2019. House Bill 336 created a pilot program for driver’s license reinstatement fee reduction and waiver for offenders whose license was suspended for certain specific violations.
In order to be eligible for reinstatement fee reduction: applicants must have completed all court-ordered sanctions related to the eligible offense other than payment of reinstatement fees; and at least 18 months must have passed since the end of the period of the suspension ordered by the court.
Applicants for the fee reduction or amnesty must complete BMV Form 2829. The form may be obtained in person at any deputy registrar license agency, online at bmv.ohio.gov/susp-fees-amnesty.aspx, or it can be mailed to you by calling (614) 752-7500.
“Both the court and the state legislature have prioritized assisting suspended drivers in becoming valid drivers. We realize that getting to work and school is a lot easier with a valid driver’s license, and I encourage anyone who may be suspended to take advantage of these opportunities before it’s too late,” Mulford said. “The law requires a driver’s license suspension for certain offenses, but with these programs the court and the legislature are reaching out and giving offenders a second chance to recover from using poor judgment and losing their license.”
According to the Ohio BMV, 1,100,593 Ohioans had a suspended driver’s license in 2017, the most recent year for which statistics were available, with 509,018 suspensions imposed against drivers who failed to take simple actions such as either paying a fine or appearing in court to contest a minor traffic ticket. Individuals can have multiple suspensions, with 3,293,740 total suspensions in effect statewide in 2017.
The judge reiterated that persons whose driver’s license is suspended because of non-payment of fines should contact the municipal court with any questions, whereas persons who have completed their underlying sentence but still owe reinstatement fees only should contact the Ohio BMV for assistance.
The Gallipolis Municipal Court can be reached at (740) 446-9400.