WHO: California drivers with outstanding infraction tickets originally due on or before January 1, 2013, and those seeking to have their driver’s license reinstated may benefit from the 18-month amnesty program that begins October 1.
WHAT: By enacting Senate Bill 85 (Stats. 2015, ch 26), the California Legislature mandated a one-time statewide program for traffic and infraction tickets that:
- Reduces bail and fine amounts for Vehicle Code and non–Vehicle Code infractions meeting certain eligibility requirements. Only tickets due to be paid before January 1, 2013, are eligible for discounts. The discounts are either 50 percent or 80 percent, depending on income; all civil assessment penalties are waived. Other limitations apply.
- Provides a process whereby drivers in good standing for installment payments on a ticket, and drivers whose license is suspended because they failed to pay an infraction fine or failed to appear in court, can commit to payment, pay a fee, and apply to get their driver’s license back, if they meet eligibility requirements.
Parking and other local ordinance violations, driving under the influence (DUI), and reckless driving violations are not eligible.
WHEN: The program begins October 1, 2015, and runs through March 31, 2017.
WHERE: Beginning October 1, people interested in participating in the amnesty program should contact the superior court in the jurisdiction(s) where they received the ticket(s) to determine their eligibility. Court locator: www.courts.ca.gov/find-my-court.htm
HOW: Courts, counties, and other authorized collections agencies may charge a $50 amnesty program fee. A variety of payment options will be available, including installment plans. Note, too, that the Department of Motor Vehicles will charge a $55 driver's license reinstatement fee, as it currently does for any driver’s license reinstatement.
WHY: The program serves multiple goals:
- Provides relief for qualified individuals who have found themselves in default of a court-ordered obligation because they have unpaid bail or fines for traffic and non-traffic infractions.
- Provides relief to individuals who have had their driving privileges suspended under Vehicle Code section 13365.
- Encourages payment of old debt that has remained unpaid, allowing court and county collection programs to resolve older delinquent cases and focus limited resources on collecting on more recent cases.
MORE INFORMATION: Frequently asked questions in English and Spanish and an introductory video are available on the California Courts website: www.courts.ca.gov/trafficamnesty