Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has excused $35 million in outstanding traffic fines and parking fees, written up prior to Jan. 1, 2011, through a recently launched city initiative.
The initiative, named Stop and Go, provides pardons for 756,531 outstanding traffic and parking violations in the Birmingham Municipal Court. The pardons, created by an executive order issued by Woodfin, went into effect Tuesday, Mar. 22.
“For many Birmingham residents, this looming debt has been a hardship and economic roadblock from moving forward with employment, education and the ability to drive,”
Woodfin said in a press release Tuesday. “I hope to clear a path toward economic empowerment. This pardon offers a new day for them.”
The pardon does not authorize expungement of any city records, nor does it eliminate any legal requirement required to request for expungement of conviction from an individual’s record. Misdemeanors, felonies, and other driving offenses, including DUIs, are not pardoned by this action, according to the mayor’s office.
There is also no debt associated with traffic fines and parking fees within the city’s budget since the city does not recognize revenue until it is collected.
“While serving as an attorney for the City of Birmingham, I witnessed how insurmountable debt from traffic and parking fines can be crippling to those who already have financial hardships,” Woodfin said. “This is a second chance.”
Records of traffic tickets, parking fees, and fines within the Birmingham Municipal Courthouse go back as far as 1958.
“Earnest efforts have been made to collect these monies,” said Birmingham Municipal Court Judge Andra Sparks in a statement Tuesday. “Over the last ten years, we have created and implemented a number of efficiencies and supportive measures to make sure backlogs and extended periods of collections do not continue.”
Previously, Woodfin issued a pardon for over 15,000 Birmingham residents convicted on possession of marijuana charges between 1990 and 2020. Those pardons, made last year, affected those with a single closed unlawful possession charge in Birmingham Municipal Court.