Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill Wednesday allowing drivers with traffic violations that were due to be paid before January 1, 2013, to schedule a court appearance even without paying the attendant fines and traffic penalties.
Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), who introduced the traffic fine bill, told the Los Angeles Times, “The system was broken. Is it reasonable or fair to require the poor to pay a huge fine before getting a hearing? I say no, and I’m grateful the governor agreed.”
The DMV states that 4.8 million driver’s licenses have been suspended since 2006 because motorists failed to pay or appear in court, according to KPBS. The new law will permit drivers to reduce their fines between 50%-80%, depending on their income, although the point violations incurred by the tickets can raise insurance rates for the drivers. CBS Los Angeles reported that the law does not apply to drivers accused of reckless driving, drunken driving, or parking tickets.
The Times has stated that a moving violation with a fine of $100 can be raised to $500 by court fees, and then $815 if the payment deadline is missed.
California Courts explains that even undocumented immigrants eligible for a license under AB60 are eligible for the new program. If the violator earns less than 125 percent of the poverty level ($14,712 for an individual or $30,312 for a family of four), the amount of the fine may be reduced by 80%, where others may see a reduction of 50%. A driver may be disqualified if he owes victim’s restitution or if there are outstanding misdemeanor or felony warrants.