KPBS.Org: Fighting Traffic Tickets In California Might Get Cheaper

SB 405 by Sen. Bob Hertzberg is cited.

September 23, 2015

Fighting a traffic ticket in California might soon be less of a pain.

Senate Bill 405, a bill on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, would prohibit courts from charging drivers a fine or fee before they contest their citation.

In some counties, people must pay the full citation, which can be several hundred dollars, before they can schedule a hearing to contest the ticket.

Supporters call SB 405 one step toward increasing access to justice, especially for the poor.

Christine Sun of the American Civil Liberties Union says pre-trial fees block access to the courts for the poor, at everyone’s expense.

“It’s not good for California. It doesn’t make any sense to punish people simply because they are too poor to pay these fines and fees," Sun told Capital Public Radio last week.

More than four million Californians have had their driver licenses revoked for failure to pay traffic fines or appear in court. Sun says losing a license can mean losing a job.

The state’s court system approved temporary amnesty for pre-trial fees this spring after Governor Jerry Brown made room in the budget.

The measure now on Brown's desk was authored by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles. It easily passed both houses of the Legislature.

Listen to complete segment HERE:

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