State offers amnesty for unpaid tickets

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Drivers with unpaid traffic tickets are getting a holiday president from the state as superior courts in all 58 counties are offering a 50 percent discount on certain overdue debt.

Parking tickets, driving under the influence (DUI) and reckless driving cases are not eligible. The amnesty program begins Jan. 1, 2012 and ends on June 30.

“A lot of these late tickets are already in collections, which happens after people don’t pay their fine,” said Nancy Iler, court manager of the local superior court. “With this program, everything is cut in half, including their civil assessment, which is $250 that gets tacked onto their fine if they don’t pay it.”

To qualify for the 50 percent discount, all of the following conditions must be met:

  • The outstanding traffic fine was due to be paid in full before Jan. 1, 2009;
  • The person receiving the ticket failed to appear in court or failed to pay their fine in full;
  • The last date a person made a payment on their traffic fine was on or before Jan. 1, 2009;
  • The ticketed person does not owe restitution to a victim on any case within the county where the traffic case was filed;
  • The person has no outstanding misdemeanor or felony warrants within the county where the traffic case was filed.

“This program – even if it’s half of what people owe – will help people pay their debts so they don’t have this hanging over them anymore,” Iler said.

Court officials will look up a traffic case to find out whether a case qualifies for the half-off discount. Full payment, at the discounted rate, is required in order for the case to be cleared.

The amnesty program applies to traffic tickets issued by Gilroy police, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol. Amnesty payments must be made in the county in which the ticket was issued.


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