Police to Collect Warrant Fines Using Credit Card Machines

A controversial new method to collect unpaid fines is being tested in several Texas cities.

The program gives police officers the ability to charge people with outstanding warrants with credit card machines.

The city of Blue Mound signed a contract with Vigilant Solutions. The company offers license plate surveillance technology that officers can have access to in their police cars.

Officers will receive an alert if a driver on the road has any outstanding warrants.

Police will then be able to pull the driver over and charge them on the spot instead of making an arrest.

"An additional benefit is their vehicle is not going to be towed and there’s a couple hundred dollars in savings there,” said Blue Mound Chief of Police Barry Hinkle.

To pay for the service, each person charged by an officer must agree to a 25 percent fee that goes to Vigilant Solutions.

"A 25 percent surcharge seems to be just a convenient way to charge more because we know that the vast majority of people will pay this," said attorney John Teakell.

The Dallas attorney worries that drivers pressured to pay the fines could possibly be giving up some rights.

"I think where the potential issues are is either the right to counsel or if somebody wants to confirm with an attorney," said Teakell.

The city of Blue Mound says the fee is still less than paying for jail fees, towing and impounded services.

If the person can’t pay the fee, they could be arrested.

City leaders say the license plate data collected by the company will not be sold or used by a third party.

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