Prosecutor’s Office receives more penalty cards for enforcing fines

PHILIPSBURG--The Prosecutor's Office received another 1,000 penalty cards yesterday. The penalty cards are used to collect payment when a fine has been given.
 
The recipient of the fine has to take the penalty card to the Receiver's Office to pay the fine.
 
In ordinary cases, when people receive a fine on the road they go to the Receiver's Office with the form they are given by the police. This is only possible within the period of time stated on the form.
 
In extraordinary cases, payments are made with the penalty card; for instance, when it has been agreed that the fine may be paid later, or where a complaint has been filed and it is decided the person may pay a lower amount. In those cases, the Prosecutor's Office will present the person with a penalty card to pay the fine.
 
Penalty cards also are given to people who have been ordered to pay a fine as part of their sentence given by the court. The penalty card functions as a means of communication between the Prosecutor's Office and the Receiver's Office. After payment is received, the Receiver's Office informs the Prosecutor's Office.
 
As there are a large number of outstanding fines of which the original payment date has expired, a larger number of penalty cards are required, as the outstanding fines no longer can be paid with the original form.
The Prosecutor's Office is on a mission to collect more fines, but also to make it easier to pay the fines, a message on the organisation's Facebook Page said. One of the measures to make payment easier is the implementation of a system whereby people can use debit cards to pay their fines at a variety of locations. The Prosecutor's Office is currently working on this system.
 
Nevertheless, "the cards are very welcome," the Facebook post specified, adding that "last week, a number of old fines, imposed in 2012 and 2013, were paid. The prosecution continues to invest actively in the actual payment of imposed fines."
 
Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Tineke Kamps reacted on Sunday to a report by the Council on Law Enforcement, which said there was insufficient evidence to gauge the exact situation regarding the payment of fines and damages, but the current situation in collecting fines was "disconcerting," as measures to enforce payments were not being applied.
 
Kamps said the Prosecutor's Office was currently in the process of installing a new system for enforcing fines, "Pay or Stay," in which systems of various organisations are linked with each other to share information.
 
She added on Monday that a working committee had regular meetings to ensure the "Pay or Stay" project would be implemented in the best possible way. "On top of this, lists with unpaid fines are regularly made available to the St. Maarten Police Force, which uses the lists when the officers conduct controls. This is another way that the payment of fines is enforced," she said.
 
Anyone wishing to wipe his or her slate clean by paying old or outstanding fines is advised to visit the Prosecutor's Officer. Once the "Pay or Stay" campaign comes into full force, the consequences of non-payment could be a lot more severe.
 
The Daily Herald

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