Kansas City passes new ordinance taking jail time out of parking tickets

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Picture of a parking ticket

A parking ticket under the wiper blade awaits a future unhappy motorist.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Quinton Lucas announced on August 27 that a new ordinance will establish a different way to process non-moving violations and remove jail time as a punishment for these minor infractions.

The city ordinance creates the Kansas City Administrative Tribunal, a separate judicial review under the Parking and Transportation Commission. Instead of the municipal court, the tribunal will hear testimony, review evidence, issue decisions and impose fines. People will pay those fines through this new system. However, warrants for arrest will not be issued.

“The administrative tribunal may not impose incarceration for any violation or any fine more than the amount allowed by law,” the ordinance states.

Anyone who gets a ticket will be notified of the new process. They must either pay the fine or request a tribunal hearing within 40 days.

If a violator does not pay the fine and does not request a hearing, the fine will “constitute a personal obligation of the violator and may be collected by the city by any appropriate legal means,” the ordinance reads. It does not specify what that means.

Picture of Mayor Quinton Lucas
Picture of Mayor Quinton Lucas

“An unpaid parking ticket or non-moving violation should never result in incarceration, and I am proud that today we continue our work toward a more just legal system for our community,” Mayor Lucas said in the announcement.

The ordinance was also co-sponsored by Councilwoman Andrea Bough.

“As a lawyer, I am fully aware of inequities in the judicial process for those not able to have legal representation to avoid incarceration and a criminal record for minor offenses and violations,” Bough said. “This initiative is geared to provide an alternate administrative system that does not impose criminal consequences for minor violations.”

City Council passed the ordinance with a 10-2 vote. It will go into effect on Oct. 15.

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