AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - If you receive a parking violation while parking in Amarillo, that violation will no longer be considered a Class C criminal offense.
Instead, it will be a civil violation.
This is the first of three ordinances that will change most stopping, standing, parking violations from criminal offenses to a civil violations.
The violation will no longer be directly given to a judge immediately.
“The first one was converting our violation process from a criminal process which it was in the past, to a civil process, for some of these parking violations. It no longer has to go to a judge immediately. There’s a hearing officer, similar to our red light camera process that’s existing, that allows them to go to a civilian hearing officer and see if they can appeal through that,” said Andrew Freeman, Director of Planning & Development Services for the City of Amarillo. “If not, they can go to a judge after.”
Councilmember Elaine Hays wants residents to know this ordinance is not establishing a stricter rule.
“We’re not creating a rule related to the new parking and things that are happening downtown. We’re actually just relaxing the penalty,” said Hays.
The ordinance does keep some violations as criminal such as handicap or fire lane violations.
The penalty for all violations will stay the same.
“The first ticket will be $25, it can escalate to $50 and up to $100 if you don’t pay it in a timely manner,” said Freeman. “Once you appeal it, that stops your clock to go through the process. If you choose to appeal it, so you have 12 days to appeal the parking violation.”
The other ordinances will focus on creating an office for civil hearings to establish a combined process for red light cameras and parking violations, as well as rework some information in the red light ordinance already on the books.
“We did have our existing red light camera ordinance that we needed to go ahead and clean up now that we’ve got a new combined process,” said Freeman.
Amarillo City Council needs to pass this group of ordinances once again next Tuesday for it to officially be in effect.