California bill would base traffic ticket fines on income

A new bill will base the amount a person pays in traffic tickets on how much their income is.

The dollar figure attached to a traffic violation in California could carry court costs and lead to a suspended driver's license. 

But a new bill in the state Senate -- SB 185 -- would base those fees on one's income. 

READ MORE: Study: More money is collected when traffic violations are affordable

"Big fines for minor traffic offenses force many people to go deep into debt, lose their driver's licenses and lose their jobs," Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), who introduced the bill, said. 

Shelby Vice, 22, of Elk Grove recently got her first ticket. She was exiting her neighborhood when she was surprisingly pulled over by a CHP officer.

"I turn and I see him...I smile...he's shaking his head," said Vice, who got a ticket for not coming to a complete stop. 

The next day, at the exact same stop, her brother also a ticket. In total, the family had to dish out $800.

According to the legislation, those unable to pay their traffic fees would instead pay what they're able to afford, setting up monthly payments with the local court system. Parking tickets are not included, according to Andrew LaMar, a spokesman for Hertzberg. 

A court could reduce the fees by 80 percent.

According to bill analysis from the state Senate's Appropriations Committee, those financially able to pay their traffic fine would only pay up to 5 percent of their family monthly income. And those unable to pay anything at all would owe nothing until their circumstances change. 

Moreover, the legislation would prevent one's license from being suspended. An already suspended driver's license would be reinstated as long as payments are made. 

Lai Jackson's husband owes more than $2000 in traffic tickets. However, he didn't know his driver's license was suspended until the recently married couple tried to go to the DMV to register their new car.

"Oh God! It's annoying," said Jackson. "Every month, we're shelling out $100 to pay off tickets. I wish we could pay it off faster."

Jackson said it will take a few years to pay off the traffic tickets, so she's all for this new bill.

Critics of the bill feel it's not fair to people who make more money. And some say if you can't afford traffic lines, then follow the law.

The bill could make it on the Senate floor as early as the end of this month. 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment