New Mississippi law carries heftier punishment for ignored traffic tickets

Ignored traffic tickets can lead to bench warrants

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (WMC) - Mississippi drivers beware. A relatively new state law carries a heftier punishment for ignored ticket citations.

No longer will it result in a suspended license. Now, drivers will receive a bench warrant.

“Since a bench warrant is an indefinite time we have been towards from a long time back they don’t go away like a regular warrant. There is no statute of limitations on a bench warrant,” said Southaven Police Department Deputy Chief of Police Mark Little.

On July 1 this new law went into effect. House Bill 1352 eases penalties on some Mississippians accused or convicted of crimes by ending automatic suspension of driver’s licenses for nonpayment of fines or for simple drug possession.

But, if you miss your first court appearance a letter will be sent stating you have missed your court date. From there you have two options, either pay the fine or dispute the ticket at the new court date.

Failure to show up or pay the fine will result in a bench warrant.

“Now with the new law they will come up to the idea that well I don’t have to pay it they can’t suspend my license everything is going to be fine. It’s going to eventually catch up to them and it’s going to be more that if they would have just come take care of it,” said Little.

The City of Southaven says the number of drivers ignoring traffic tickets has created a backlog of in the city court.

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