Warrant clinic to be held to reduce misdemeanor fines

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Civil rights advocates will hold a warrant clinic that helps people with outstanding misdemeanor charges clear their warrants and reset court dates.

The clinic, being held by the NAACP, Voice of the Experienced (VOTE) and Growing Real Alternatives Everywhere (GRAE) will be held at Gethsemane Church of God in Christ, 701 E. Pinhook Road in Lafayette. To register, go to www.graenow.com or call (337) 414-9153.

Participation in the clinic does not require surrender to police, and participants will NOT be arrested at the clinic. 

“This clinic is so important to our community,” said Consuela Gaines, VOTE Chapter Organizer for Lafayette. “When people get tickets, who isn’t able to pay them off? Poor people. Then, they’re slapped with more fines and fees, their license is taken away—but these consequences make it so much harder to pay off the ticket in the first place. This is how our government punishes people for being poor. We’re thankful the state has come to the table to give people a fresh start, a clean slate.”

Organizers said misdemeanor warrants are particularly harmful to poor communities and communities of color.

If a court date is missed or a ticket is not paid, additional fines and fees are added on top. Often, driver’s licenses are suspended.

Without a license, many working-class people are unable to get to work, take their kids to school, or register to vote,” stated organizers in a press release. “As these costs pile up, paying a ticket that might be considered by some as a minor inconvenience, grows from difficult to impossible.”

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