City offers offenders last chance to pay up
March amnesty a chance to avoid late fees, court
For nearly a year, the city of Albuquerque’s Parking Division stopped forwarding unpaid citations to court in an effort to lessen the judicial system’s burden during COVID-19. That moratorium is about to end. But, before it does, the city is giving expired-meter offenders, loading-zone outlaws and others with unresolved parking citations one last chance to head off late fees and a court proceeding through a month of what a spokesman called “amnesty.”
It is not forgiving tickets; however, from March 1 through March 31, the city will settle outstanding parking citations as long as the recipient pays the original fine amount. That means it will not charge any late fees, which normally begin accruing 11 days after tickets are issued and can affect the cost dramatically.
For example, an expired meter citation — one of the most common infractions — has a $20 face value, but it doubles on day 11 and triples on day 21.
Johnny Chandler, a city spokesman, said the March amnesty period is intended to reduce the citation load headed to court on April 1 and to help those with unpaid citations avoid higher fees, including potential court fees.
Typically, the city forwards unpaid citations to court 31 days after issuance, but it halted that practice during the public health emergency.
It has not, however, stopped issuing tickets. Parking enforcement has handed out roughly 30,000 tickets in that span.
About 7,000 now meet the standards for a court referral and those that remain unresolved by April 1 are heading that way, Chandler said.
“On April 1, no joke, no fooling around, it’s going (to court),” he said.
Robert L. Padilla, Metropolitan Court’s executive officer, said he is hopeful people with outstanding tickets use the amnesty period to avoid both late fees and escalation to the court system.
“If you received a parking citation a while back and forgot about it, this is the perfect opportunity to address it,” he said in a statement. “If you choose, instead, to bring the matter to Court, your case will be scheduled for a hearing in a timely fashion.”
Citations can be paid online. For more details, visit cabq.gov and search for parking, call 311 or send an email to parking@ cabq.gov.