Proposal would allow lower fines for traffic citations if driver can’t pay

Local News

Should traffic fines be based on how much a person can afford to pay for breaking the law? It may have happened to you or someone you know, we’re talking about getting a ticket for a traffic violation. According to a proposal, some drivers may not be able to afford to pay the citation.

“We are trying to evaluate how do we ensure greater legal compliance but also how do we not criminalize the occasional mistake or further criminalize the occasional mistake if it hinges around someone’s inability to pay,” said Representative Aaron Ling Johanson, Chair of Labor and Public Employment Committee.

The proposed pilot program would require the court to provide an adjusted fine for traffic citations based on a person’s monthly income, at the request of the driver.

“It gives leeway and discretion to the judge. It doesn’t mandate that the judge has to so it’s trying to allow for the judge to factor in a lot of different circumstances income being one of them,” said Johanson.

We asked what about the people who might say that this is unfair?

“That’s a legitimate question to ask which is way the one change that I made in the bill is to ask the next committee to look at what if somebody is a habitual offender,” said Johanson.

The State Judiciary testified saying it understands the intent of the measure but notes the significant funding and time needed to pilot the project.

“Furthermore, The Judiciary is concerned that this measure will have unintended negative impacts on cited motorists if passed and would place an undue burden on the court when there are other options that exist.”

To see the full measure, click here.

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