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Ticket Amnesty Update

Governor Brown's proposed ticket amnesty has hit a road block, or at least a speed bump.

The Legislative Analyst's Office concluded that the governor's revenue estimate was far too high, and it "recommend [that] the Legislature reject the Governor's proposed traffic amnesty program." According to the LAO, the proposed 18-month amnesty would have to raise $150 million to meet target levels. In 2012, a six-month amnesty netted $12.3 million.

The proposal has also come under fire from judges and peace officers, who say that the system is broken. According to some, penalty assessments and other add-ons are too high, and many people simply cannot afford to pay them. The oft-cited example is the $35 stop sign ticket that balloons to $238, then sometimes over $1000 when a failure to appear or pay is added on. They argue that a ticket amnesty does nothing to address the underlying problem.

A third concern is that two amnesties in three years may create an expectation of continued programs, and thus discourage people from paying their fines.

It appears that a new amnesty program may not be on the horizon, and if it does come to pass sometime before the end of the year, it may be radically different from the one that Governor Brown initially proposed.

If you have unpaid tickets in Bakersfield, and you do not want to wait for government bureaucrats to do something, contact an attorney who regularly practices in traffic court. Whereas a ticket amnesty would just give you a discount on the fines, an attorney can oftentimes get the warrants lifted and get the case back on the docket. Once the tickets are back before the judge, a lawyer can fight them in court, to get the charges reduced or even have them thrown out altogether.