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Homeless May Avoid Criminal Charges

A new program in Phoenix may help homeless people discharge fines and outstanding criminal warrants for low-level violations, putting them in a position to take advantage of many services offered by the government and charitable organizations, according to a recent report. Meetings take place on the third Tuesday of each month and are known as “homeless court.”  The court meets in the Lodestar Day Resource Center on the Human Services Campus.  There, homeless people can find assistance in purging fines and warrants, locating resources and getting on the path to self-sufficiency once again.

How Can the Homeless Take Advantage of This Program?

The “homeless court” is open to anyone who meets the requirements to receive services and who has outstanding criminal issues.  Participants must meet certain qualifications, such as being currently housed in transitional housing, showing that they are seeking employment and completing community service.  In addition, participants cannot have any felony convictions in the previous ten years, excluding DUI or drug charges.  If a participant has serious convictions or outstanding felony warrants, he or she may be served by other resources, such as the public defender’s system, to resolve those issues. By definition, those who are utilizing the program’s services are already “in the system.”  If they are not, experts at the center may be able to help them find access to programs that can help with transitional housing, medical care and other resources to help them qualify for assistance through the court.  Participants can sometimes clear thousands of dollars in fines by performing community service and other actions. Not only does the program help those who are homeless but it also eases a substantial amount of the burden from the criminal justice system in tracking down offenders and collecting fines for relatively minor violations.  Because many of these crimes and their resulting fines are cleared from the system, police officers, probation officers and others are able to focus their efforts on more serious issues.

What If I Am Arrested for a Crime?

The best way to prevent an accumulation of fines and fees or having an outstanding warrant is to address criminal issues immediately.  If you are arrested, contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Oswalt Law Group in Phoenix for help.  We can assist you with both misdemeanor and felony charges and can work with you to ensure that your criminal charges are dealt with swiftly and effectively.

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