Pharr to waive failure to appear, warrant charges thru 2020

The city of Pharr approved a program that will waive failure to appear and warrant charges for unadjudicated fines paid in full.

At a city commission meeting Monday, the Amnesty Program was introduced during a proclamation reading in which the week of Nov. 2 through Nov. 6 was recognized as Municipal Court Week.

The program will run through Dec. 31.

“What that is, it’s a grace period because unfortunately when people don’t take responsibility and don’t show up to either plead guilty or not guilty or no contest to the charges, there’s warrants for arrest that get issued based on the lack of taking responsibility,” Municipal Court Judge Criselda Rincon Flores said during the meeting.

Flores explained that during the timeframe of Nov. 3 through Dec. 31, those charges, fines and court-cost fees will be waived.

“People don’t have to be afraid to go to the court,” Flores said. “They’re not going to get arrested. They’re going to have an opportunity to speak either to myself or to Judge (Rodolfo) Martinez, and we’re here to serve. We’re here to help our citizens. We understand that everybody has been going through very difficult moments — especially this year.”

Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez commended the municipal court and showed support for the amnesty program.

“We really don’t want to affect people’s lives by having something weigh them down where they can’t go on to a meaningful career just because of a dumb mistake,” Hernandez said.

Later on during the meeting, the program was unanimously approved by the commissioners.

The city is encouraging anyone with any failure to appear charges or warrant charges to visit the Pharr Municipal Court, located at 1900 S. Cage Blvd. Their hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.