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Got Parking Tickets? The State Is in a Forgiving Mood

A new state law offering traffic violators a 50 percent discount on unpaid traffic fines is set to take effect Jan. 1; amnesty is offered for six months.

A new state law offers traffic violators a 50 percent discount on unpaid traffic fines.

Though some public officials have argued that the new law sends the wrong message by rewarding scofflaws, Orange County is mandated by the state law to offer the amnesty.

SB 857 will take effect Jan. 1. For the six months that follow, motorists who have unpaid traffic fines that date back prior to 2009 can send in just half of what they owe and clear the slate. Some restrictions apply, including that the violator cannot have any outstanding misdemeanor or felony warrants.

Another restriction leaves out anyone who has tried to pay off part of his or her fine. The exclusion prompted the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this week to urge the state to extend the amnesty to drivers who have made partial payments on their fines.

"California traffic fines are among the highest in the country and have become extremely onerous to our citizens," Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said. "It is only fair that if the state wishes to grant a 50 percent amnesty for those who have made no attempt at payment, then those who have made partial payment should be offered the same discount."

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK IN THE COMMENT BOX

What do you think? Is the law unfair, or is it a smart way to fill state coffers with payments for tickets that have gone unpaid for years?

-City News Service

eric lyon December 16, 2011 at 04:40 PM
Why shouldn't I get a 50% refund for any tickets I have paid? How is this fair? Again a reward for not doing the right thing. I say take away the cars and sell them to pay for the fines.
KC December 23, 2011 at 09:34 PM
Over all it's a good idea in the sense that 50% of a fine is beter than 100% nothing, but it sucks for those who did play by the rules and paid their fines.
Stuart Milgrom December 24, 2011 at 05:57 PM
I just paid $170 for a cell, used while driving ticket, while in fact on hands free blue tooth system in the car. To go to court, had to first pay fine, refferred to as "Bail." Officer (CM motor) said he saw phone, which ws a fantasy. Then it was officer's word against mine and guess who court sided with? Not I! The fines are outrageous and those who paid should not be penalized, but also entitled to a 50% refund! We did not break the law, those with outstanding fines; did! Are we now forgiving the "Guilty" and holding only innocent or paying folks fully liable fo their fines? What is new?
Rich Kane December 24, 2011 at 06:19 PM
Is the state really responsible for collecting unpaid parking tickets? Really? Speeding tickets on state highways I can see, but for something like an expired meter?
Wilda C. Beavers January 03, 2012 at 07:03 AM
I think it is totally WRONG to "forgive" one half of unpaid traffic fines. Much more fair if the state doubled the fine, and suspended the driver's license until the fine is paid in full. We don't reward our children for wrong doing, God forbid let's not show them a REAL BAD example and reward adults for breaking the law. Wild B

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