Legal Question in Traffic Law in California

we live in Arizona. My daughter got a ticket for not wearing a seat belt in Fresno, Ca. 14 years ago. Originally a $50 fine, now they want $800. Is there some way to settle for less?

Asked on 7/04/16, 3:22 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Joe Dane Law Office of Joe Dane

Here's how relatively small fines grow -

The fine itself is then subject to "penalty assessments" - essentially taxes on top of the base fine. That $50 turned into a couple hundred. Then, if she fails to appear or fails to pay the fine, they can not only add additional charges, but also suspend her license and add a "civil assessment" of up to $325. If she messed up a couple of times, that's how it could have grown to $800.

Unfortunately, many judges will not waive the civil assessments unless there is a valid excuse - and those are limited ... If she was on active duty military, in the hospital or in jail, that would be a valid reason for not appearing.

Having said that, some judges may be willing to do something to clear up this old mess and waive what they can. While they may not touch the civil assessments, they may suspend the actual original citation fines.

But she (or a lawyer on her behalf) is going to have to appear in court to clean this up.

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Answered on 7/05/16, 10:07 am

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