District 12 DA Publishing Ads With Names Of People Who Owe Fines
ROGERS COUNTY, Oklahoma - An Oklahoma district attorney is getting serious about people paying their court fines and fees.
The district attorney for Rogers, Mayes and Craig counties said his office has more active warrants than usual and he's hoping publishing ads gets people's attention.
The DA hopes people will see their name and pay the fine to avoid going to jail; but others, like Ramsey Nofal, were surprised by the listing.
"I'm shocked that they would put that out there," he said.
The ad is running in newspapers in Rogers, Mayes and Craig counties. It shows the full names and case numbers of non-violent offenders in District 12 with an active warrant from the DA's office.
“We've got a lot of people that have not fulfilled their obligations that owe money to our office, that owe court fees or that haven't done what they're supposed to do," said District Attorney Matt Ballard.
More than 350 people, in fact - and that's a number Ballard said is way too high; so his office is offering a grace period.
"The idea is that rather than going out and looking for these people, we let them know. We give them an opportunity to come to us and the benefit to them is that they don't have to go through the booking process, they don't have to go to jail, they can take care of their obligations," Ballard explained.
The grace period runs through February 26th, and Ballard said his office will now accept debit and credit cards, making it easier for people to make payments whether they come to the courthouse in person or do it online.
If they find you during the grace period and you still haven't paid, offenders could still be arrested.
And while some people, like Ramsey, aren't sure it will work, "No, I just think it will kind of irritate people."
Others, like Jerry Hilton, said they think it will, even if it's a little embarrassing.
"Well it could be, but they shouldn't have done it to begin with," he said. "I think it's a good idea."
Ballard said it's better to get called out and pay your fine than end up behind bars.
Payments can be made through the DA’s website or you can call 918-923-4593 for more information.