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Protections for Low-Income Motorists With Traffic Tickets


Landmark Case Offers Greater Protections for Low-Income Motorists With Traffic Tickets

In California, many low-income motorists are forced to choose between paying a traffic ticket and paying rent or buying food. The state has some of the highest traffic fines in the country. California’s fines and add-on fees for a minor violation can cause a $100 ticket to skyrocket $500.

More than 60 percent of Americans do not have the cash to cover a $500 traffic ticket. Traffic citations can have a domino effect that can cause a person to lose his or her license. Without a license, many people cannot work and pay for the citation. In fact, millions of Californians have lost their driver’s licenses due to a lack of money to pay fines. In Solano County alone, 11,000 people had their licenses suspended in 2015, for failure to pay traffic fines.

Solano County Settlement Notifies Ticketed Motorists of Payment Options

There is now good news for motorists in this predicament. Low-income drivers in California can now breathe a sigh as relief thanks to a recent Solano County Superior Court settlement. In the past, the Solano County court had failed to notify those with traffic tickets that they were eligible for alternate payment options if they could demonstrate their inability to pay a traffic fine.

The recent settlement now ensures that low-income motorists have access to and knowledge of additional payment options. Public interest groups and the court have agreed on these additional options for low-income drivers. Now, the court must make certain all motorists who receive traffic citations are made aware of their right to other payment options based on an inability to pay the fine.

Notices will now be available on the court website and provided to ticketed motorists in printed form. These notices will inform motorists of payment alternatives. They can ask for a reduced fine or enroll in a payment plan. Community service is also available for those who receive public benefits or who are homeless.

What’s Next?

Solano County is so far the only county that has adopted this practice. The car accident lawyers of Nadrich & Cohen, LLP support the recent Solano County settlement and are hopeful that other California counties and municipalities will follow suit.

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