Program for Traffic Fines Offers Amnesty

A statewide amnesty program for overdue traffic fines and non-traffic offenses went into effect in San Diego last October, but court officials say few people have taken advantage of the opportunity.

There are tens of thousands of people potentially eligible according to county officials, and although they prepared for long lines, less than 2,700 people have requested to have their fines reduced.

Comparatively, around 7,000 people have used the program in Orange County.

“The penalty could include suspension of your license, you could have your tax refund taken by the state of California to satisfy that obligation,” Michael Roddy San Diego Superior Court Executive Officer told NBC 7.

If the due date for bail or fines on an unpaid ticket was before 2013 the court may lower the debt 50 to 80%, and any driver’s license holds may be released. Others may also be eligible to have ‘failure to appear or pay’ notifications cleared from their driving record.

“We've seen a much Greater response from other counties throughout California and that's where the concern arises,” Roddy explained. “Maybe we're not getting the word out effectively to the public and so again we are doubling our efforts.”

People who believe they are eligible should fill out the Amnesty Program Participation Form on the court’s website. More information can be found on the Judicial Council amnesty page.

Parking tickets and misdemeanors offenses such as DUI and reckless driving are not eligible.

A $50 Amnesty Program Fee will be charged for each eligible participant, which will be added to the first payment or lump sum amount. In addition, the DMV will also charge a $55 Driver’s License Reinstatement fee, if it applies.

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