On Wednesday, Pike County Court Judge Paul Price and Pike County Clerk of Courts Justin Brewster released a statement dealing with fines and costs in Pike County Court.
According to the statement, county court and the clerk of courts are working to improve the efficiency of the administration of the Pike County Court, which has included a computer system upgrade and an audit conducted by the state auditor.
“In 2019, the Pike County Court began a computer system upgrade, as well as an audit conducted by the State Auditor, to improve the effectiveness of the operations of the Court,” according to the statement. “This has resulted in increased collection of outstanding fines and costs. One of the main functions of the Court and the Clerk of Courts is to collect unpaid fines, costs, and other fees owed to Pike County. The 2019 audit and systems upgrade led to the identification of unpaid monies owed to the Court. As a result, the Clerk of Courts and Court has begun an expanded effort to collect those outstanding fines, costs, and fees.”
According to the statement, one of the primary methods used to collect money is the utilization of Capital Recovery Services, an outside debt collector which works on behalf of the court to collect outstanding fines and costs.
“This collection agency utilizes a multitude of methods to contact debtors, including phone calls and letters. If you receive an inquiry from Capital Recovery Services regarding debts owed to the Court, do not hesitate to contact Capital Recovery Services or the Court to verify its accuracy. In 2019 alone, Capital Recovery Services made over 40,000 phone calls, sent over 10,000 letters, and conducted nearly 11,000 change of address inquiries in an effort to contact individuals owing monies to the Court.
“Once attempts to contact debtors and obtain payment are unsuccessful, the Court utilizes vehicle registration blocks and license suspensions to draw the attention of the debtor and obtain payment. These efforts are often used as a last resort. These suspensions and registration blocks may be lifted by making payment on the debt.”
Both Price and Brewster emphasized that people who have questions or concerns about an outstanding fine or court cost should contact the court, and the court will work with them to resolve the issue.
“The Pike County Court and the Clerk of Courts welcome all inquiries by those individuals, who may have unpaid fines and costs owed. The Court regularly conducts audits of individual files to ensure the veracity and legitimacy of any fines and costs owed by any individual. The Court and Clerk take seriously the maintaining of accurate records and are willing to review any files to determine the appropriateness of any charges owed by any individual.”
According to Price, there is no statute of limitations for the collection of unpaid fines and costs.
“It is unfair to those who immediately pay their fines and costs to forgive unpaid fines and costs just because of the extensive passage of time,” the statement says. “On the other hand, it is the goal of the Court and Clerk to work with any individual who wishes to make arrangements to pay fines and costs so that they can avoid additional collection activities against them.”
Those with questions or concerns should contact the court at 740-947-4003, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“The Court may accept payment plans for larger debts. Please take action and make payment before a registration block or license suspension issues.”