Kansas City’s Municipal Court soon will allow people with outstanding court fines and fees to pay off those debts in installments.
Under the arrangement that begins Friday, defendants will be allowed to enter into a written agreement to pay 10 percent of their fines within 15 days and then make monthly installment payments for the remaining amount.
The payment contracts could vary from 30 days to 12 months, depending on how much is owed.
“We always gave time for individuals to pay on most cases but this (installment plan) makes it a bit more formalized,” said Megan Pfannenstiel, the court’s administrator.
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The plan also falls in line with a recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling that requires municipal courts to offer installment payments. It also prohibits municipal courts from immediately issuing a contempt warrant when someone fails to pay a fine. The new rule takes effect July 1.
The installment plan will apply to new and current fines owed. It also allows fines from multiple cases be to combined in a single payment plan.
Letters would be sent to defendants who do not make good on their installment payments. They then would be given 10 days to get current on their payments. The judge may modify the plan or sentence the defendant to up to 30 days in jail for contempt.