Law enforcement vehicle pulls over another car at highway exit


Online Tool to Request Reductions to Traffic Tickets Continues to Expand Throughout California

More than 100,000 litigants have already used the MyCitations online tool, totaling $38.6 million in reductions
Mar 21, 2024

Just a few years ago, asking for a reduction in the amount of a traffic ticket meant filing a request in person at the courthouse or even appearing before a judge. But a new online tool offered by a growing number of California courts is not only saving litigants a trip to the courthouse, it’s saving them money.

How the MyCitations Tool Works
MyCitations is an online tool that allows low-income individuals with infraction violations to request a reduction in their fines and fees without going to the courthouse. Users can also request a payment plan, more time to pay, or community service.

graphic promoting the MyCitations ability-to-pay tool

Program Continues to Expand, Reaching More Low-Income User
A recent report to the Legislature analyzed the program since its launch in April 2019 through December 2023. The report found that due to the program’s expansion and because more litigants are learning about the program, nearly half (61,351) of the total (128,151) requests made since it launched in 2019 were made in 2023.

In 2023 alone:

  • More than 47,000 litigants submitted approximately 61,000 ability-to-pay requests
  • Courts granted more than $16 million in fine reductions
  • Nearly 50% of litigants who used the tool reported they receive public benefits and nearly 90% reported incomes at or below 250% the poverty line

As of March 1, 2024, more than 100,000 litigants have submitted more than 142,000 requests, resulting in more than $38.6 million in reductions since 2019.

Report Finds Reducing Fines and Fees Benefits Both Litigants and Courts
That latest report to the Legislature was consistent with earlier evaluations of the MyCitations tool, also finding that litigants are more likely to repay the full amount of fines and fees as the amount ordered to pay decreases.

Chart showing litigants are more likely to repay the full amount of fines and fees as the amount ordered to pay decreases

Comparing the repayment rates among 40,801 cases studied demonstrates that more defendants fully repay their court debt as the amount ordered to pay decreases. The rate of repayment ranges from around 70% for cases where defendants are ordered to pay up to $100 to below 20% when the ordered amount exceeds $500.

Next Steps and Future MyCitations Features
Currently, 43 superior courts in California’s 58 counties offer the MyCitations online tool. The 15 remaining superior courts expect to start using the tool by July 2024.

In addition, all California tickets now have information about the MyCitations tool and how to access it.

And adding to the tool’s functionality, a new Online Trial by Declaration module allows a defendant to contest eligible traffic citations by submitting a written statement and uploading evidence online. This online trial module will be piloted in San Francisco County by summer of 2024.