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California motorists get amnesty for unpaid traffic tickets

December 19, 2011 | 11:59 am

Beginning Jan. 1, many California motorists with unpaid traffic tickets will be granted an amnesty, of sorts, by being allowed to pay off half their fines and be done with it.

Those who have fines that were due on or before Jan. 1, 2009, will have six months to pay half of what they owe. With that, they’ll be deemed paid in full, according to a new law and court finding.

A state administrative court has determined that only those who’ve paid no money toward their traffic fines will be eligible for the amnesty -– and not those who’ve paid some amount of their fines.

L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has led a campaign against it, saying it penalizes those who’ve tried to pay a portion of their traffic fines.

“Why would we essentially penalize people who’ve made some good-faith efforts to pay their tickets while offering bargain rates to those who haven’t? Actually, there’s no good reason,” Zaroslavsky wrote on his blog at his county website. 

Zaroslavsky wrote that he will ask his supervisor colleagues at a meeting Tuesday to sign a letter with him to the California Judicial Council, asking the council to include in the amnesty those who have made any payments toward their fines due prior to Jan. 1, 2009.

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-- Sam Quinones
twitter.com/samquinones7

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