California instituting amnesty program for unpaid traffic tickets

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Some California drivers who can't afford to pay traffic fines or court fees are getting a bit of a break. An amnesty program is going into effect Thursday. (KABC)

Some California drivers who can't afford to pay traffic fines or court fees are getting a bit of a break. An amnesty program is going into effect Thursday.

Delron Simpson always remembers to buckle up before he drives. He has 500 good reasons to never forget.

"It was kind of heartbreaking because it was a $500 seat belt ticket in San Bernardino County, so yeah, it kind of hurt my pockets there," said Simpson.

But starting Thursday, there is a bit of a silver lining for drivers facing hefty traffic fines. Gov. Jerry Brown is instituting a ticket amnesty program for residents who can't afford to pay their fines.

"Hopefully I don't get any more tickets in the future. But if I do, that will be awesome," said Simpson.

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Under the plan, drivers who go to kiosks in courthouses would only have to pay 50 to 80 percent of what they owe.

Since 2006, the state has suspended 4.8 million driver's licenses after motorists failed to pay or appear in court. Under the new program, drivers with revoked licenses can apply to reinstate them. But this leniency will not apply to drunk driving and reckless driving violators.

"It's a big burden when you have a lot of tickets, so yeah, I wish it was in back then when I used to get a lot of parking tickets," said Donald Robbins of Temecula.

Only violations due to be paid before Jan. 1, 2013 are eligible for the amnesty program.

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It's too late for Cynthia Ahlgrim of Riverside County. She was fined $200 for her moving violation.

"I'm actually making payments, so they did allow me to make payments, so I appreciate that," said Ahlgrim.

Drivers will have until March 31, 2017, to make good on paying off their traffic tickets.

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