California Rolls out Traffic and Infraction Ticket Amnesty Program

Certain Californians who have unpaid traffic or non-traffic infraction tickets may be eligible to participate in a new, one-time amnesty program to significantly reduce the amount of fees owed. Signed into law in June by Governor Brown, the amnesty program began on October 1 and will continue through March of 2017. This program was created to assist individuals who have had their driving privilege suspended and those who have defaulted on fines for traffic and other violations, often due to high fees added to original overdue balances. This program also seeks to resolve these older cases so that the state can spend its limited resources collecting fees and fines in more recent cases.

To qualify for amnesty, individuals must have an unpaid traffic ticket that was due on or before January 1, 2013 or have a suspended driver license due to unpaid fines on which the driver is currently making payments. The program allows for civil assessment fees to be dropped and for original penalties to be reduced by either 50 or 80 percent, depending on income level. While the main focus of the program is traffic tickets, other non-traffic infractions also qualify, however parking tickets, and drunk and reckless driving tickets do not.

The amnesty program is not a DMV program, but instead is handled through the California court system. Individuals must contact the superior court in the jurisdiction where they received their ticket to determine if they are eligible to participate. Court information and locations can be found on this find my court webpage(link is external). Individuals who would like to investigate their own driver record to identify potential qualifying citations can request a copy of their records(link is external) through the DMV for a nominal fee.