St. Louis County to Offer 'Fresh Start' for Those With Low-Level Warrants

A new virtual docket allows people to request new court dates without fear of arrest

click to enlarge St. Louis County Courthouse - Via Google Maps
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St. Louis County Courthouse

A new virtual docket will allow St. Louis County residents with active warrants for traffic and nonviolent offenses to request new court dates without risking arrest.

Tomorrow, St. Louis County will host its inaugural Fresh Start Friday, where residents with low-level warrants can log into a virtual docket with a judge to speak about their active warrant.

This serves as a substitute for requesting new court dates in person at St. Louis County Municipal Court, where residents with active warrants, risk arrest by showing up in person to request a new court date.

“We know that outstanding warrants for nonviolent offenses can create barriers to employment, and we want the St. Louis County community to know that the municipal court is here to help every Friday,” County Executive Sam Page said in a statement.

According to a report by the Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice, a significant percentage of arrests in St. Louis stem from outstanding bench warrants issued for low-level violations from failure to appear to unpaid fines and fees. Most involve traffic violations and unduly affect Black or impoverished populations.

“St. Louis County Municipal Court doesn’t want to cause any undue hardship,” Municipal Court Administrative Judge Daniel Brown said in a statement. “We only ask that you reach out to us so we can provide assistance.”

Those with active warrants can log into the virtual docket at 1 p.m. every Friday (excluding holidays).

In addition, every Friday at 2 p.m., the courts will allow people with outstanding fines or court costs to virtually speak with a municipal court judge about extending their due dates without their debt getting reported to a debt collection agency.

St. Louis City has previously sponsored amnesty programs that allow defendants to obtain warrant cancellations and new court dates without posting cash bonds. In August, St. Louis Municipal Courts canceled over 2,700 bench warrants for people with outstanding court fines, summonses or tickets.