Smith County weighs the use of scofflaws


SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - Smith County drivers, beware.

If you have any outstanding fines, fees or tickets, you may be driving illegally soon.

That's if the county puts something called scofflaws into effect.

If you owe fines or fees anywhere in Smith County, the county is looking at a law that would keep you from registering your car, making it illegal to drive until you pay those fines.

Some drivers think it will do more harm than good.

Most drivers try to stay within the lines when it comes to the law.

But those who don't may find themselves without important paperwork if they don't pay up.

"It's almost counter productive," says Marilyn Flowers, a Smith County Resident.

Flowers doesn't have any outstanding fines, she thinks scofflaws stopping people from getting their registration renewed because of money owed could be problematic in Smith County.

That would equal even more fines for people who are already behind.

"Get stopped by the police officer who says, 'you owe me for registration.' And now added insult to injury and compounded the money," says Flowers.

It could come from something as small as a ticket on your windshield. Keeping you from getting your registration on your car, and could be paying more out of your pocket.

"Just another tool in the collection process," says Gary Barber, the Smith County Tax Assessor Collector.

Barber says most people wouldn't have to worry.

But he's trying to ensure all cities and county offices are on board before it's implemented.

And there was a little hesitation at a meeting Thursday.

"You can't get money from people who don't have money. There's a lot of people out there who are hurting," says Justice of the Peace Mitch Schamburger.

He says in some cases the county won't get it's money either way.

"We're putting pressure on people that don't have the money to take care of their business," says Schamburger.

Part of the reason the county is looking at this is because of the toll roads and growing fines there.

The county says the state could mandate it in the near future because of that.

Barber said today he wanted to do some more research and talk with other counties who have scofflaws, then put a plan together everyone can agree on before taking it to commissioner's court.

Several other counties across the state have scofflaws in effect.

They've reported big returns for their lost money.


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