No one enjoys going to traffic court, especially when it's for a minor violation. It can be difficult to find the time to get there. Now, a new program in Sherwood is making traffic court easier than ever.
Sherwood is now the first traffic court in Arkansas moving to an online traffic dispute resolution system. That means for minor traffic offenses, you no longer have to go to court. You can do traffic court on your computer, in the comfort of your own home, without going anywhere.
Sherwood District Court Judge, Butch Hale, said people failing to appear in court is a big issue and that's one of the main reasons they're moving to a totally new system.
“It allows them to pay their ticket online or if they want to dispute it, dispute it online as well,” he said.
It’s also an effort to help with efficiency.
“It enables people, in the comfort of their own home, to participate in the legal process without having to stand in line for court, take off work, or try to get a babysitter,” Judge Hale said.
Now, each traffic ticket will list a website that individuals can visit to get the process started. Once they get to the website, they select whether they are dealing with a traffic or warrant situation.
Then, they enter their driver’s license number and date of birth. After that, they can fill out their dispute or pay the ticket. They can also upload documents or photographs that they would like to include as part of their case presentation.
After they present a challenge, the police officer issuing the citation also gets a chance to respond. Then, the city attorney makes a recommendation and Judge Hale makes a ruling. Within two weeks, people can get online and see the result. If they still want to appeal or attend an actual court date, they can do that too.
Sherwood Police Department Sergeant Keith Wilson said the move online will also help police officers and public safety in the long run.
“Anytime you come in for a court day, you see the room lined with police officers,” he said. “This move will alleviate a lot of the officers coming in for court so they can be back on the street protecting citizens.”
The program is free to the public and is effective immediately. The program only handles minor offenses and will never be used for cases that could result in serving jail or prison time, such as cases involving DWI’s or driving without a license.