Courts may let people fight traffic tickets without paying fine first

California courts may adopt an emergency rule making it easier for people to fight traffic tickets.

News Story (California)

Maura Dolan
Los Angeles Times (LA Times)
June 8, 2015
Full story

Tags: Benefits of Legal Aid, Courts, Poverty

Organizations mentioned/involved: Western Center on Law & Poverty (WCLP) (CA)


The state has added on charges that make the cost of a routine traffic ticket nearly $500, an amount that rapidly inflates when deadlines are missed. Although state courts charge people many fees — raised during the budget crisis — to use the legal system, the outcry has been loudest in the traffic arena.

Lawyers representing the poor have complained that judges in some counties have been requiring drivers to pay the fines as a condition of contesting them, a practice that California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye called “pay to play” and vowed to stop.