Governor Jerry Brown dubbed his state’s traffic court system as “a hellhole of desperation” and recently signed a bill that will cut California drivers with unpaid tickets and suspended licenses a break. California drivers who had tickets due by January 1st, 2013 now have the chance to reduce their fines by 50-80% and even earn their suspended license back. Built to help lower income drivers, this program will allow those who make $14,712 as an individual or $30,312 for a family of four (in other words, those making 125% below than poverty level) or those receiving public assistance to receive an 80% reduction on their ticket fee. The rest of California’s residents can receive 50% off.
Called the Infractions Amnesty Program, the program started on October 1st, 2015 and will continue until March 31st, 2017.
How does the CA Amnesty program help?
Over the past eight years some four million California drivers have had their license suspended, and the state has some $10 billion dollar of uncollected court fines related to traffic tickets. In the past decade, California ticket prices have seen an exponential increase. For example, running a red light can cost up to $490 with all the extra fees the state adds on. However, if the person fails to pay for the ticket or to appear in court, the cost can jump again to$800 and up. One California resident saw his ticket fines spike from $200 to $2,700 and a license suspension after he was caught driving without paying for his ticket.
Do you qualify for California’s amnesty program?
While DUI, reckless-driving, and parking tickets do not qualify, any California driver who has a ticket fee that was due before January 1st. 2013 and those who haven’t made a payment after June 24th, 2015 are eligible for the ticket amnesty. To avoid having points added to your licenses, be sure to elect to take an inexpensive traffic school course online.
To find your ticket amnesty options, call the Superior Court in the county where your ticket was issued, then you can begin the application process. You may be subject to $50 amnesty program fee and, for license reinstatements, a $55 fee from the Department of Motor Vehicles.