EDINBURG – In an effort to further recoup monies owed, Hidalgo County began denying vehicle registration services to residents with felony or misdemeanor fines and fees that are 90 days past due. This new addition to the County’s Scofflaw Program aims to expand efforts to enhance collections by catching “scofflaws” who have skipped out on their obligations. The expanded Scofflaw Program took effect beginningAugust 14.
Hidalgo County commenced the Scofflaw Program in October 2012, denying vehicle registration services to residents who had outstanding and overdue fines and fees owed to justice of the peace courts; since the program’s inception, over $1 million has been collected either via the online pay portal or at the justices of the peace offices directly.
The Texas Legislature approved the Scofflaw Program in 1997, which allows county tax assessor-collectors to deny registration of a vehicle if they receive information that the registrant owes the county a past due fine or fee. The program is a mechanism for counties to chastise “scofflaws,” defined as “contemptuous law violators,” as a means of recouping money that is owed.
The total amount owed in county and district court cases totals approximately $11 million, and the average court case owed is around $500. Individuals who have outstanding fines or fees will be flagged as “scofflaw” on the county’s system and will be unable to register their vehicles until the amount is paid in full.
Residents are encouraged to visit the county’s online pay portal at http://hidalgo.go2gov.net prior to visiting the tax office to check whether they are scofflawed for overdue fines and fees for county or district court cases or justice of the peace court cases. They can pay online or in person at the County Clerk Collections Department or at the respective justice of the peace courts. Names will continue to remain flagged as “scofflaw” on the system, and unable to register their vehicle, until the total amount is paid in full.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.