On June 24, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation allowing traffic ticket amnesty on unpaid traffic tickets.
What Does California Traffic Ticket Amnesty Do?
Mainly, Governor Brown’s traffic ticket amnesty program allows a 50-80% reduction in your outstanding balance on unpaid traffic tickets, if you qualify.
Your unpaid traffic tickets qualify for amnesty if the date the ticket was originally due to be paid falls on or before January 1st, 2013, AND you did not make a payment toward the ticket after September 30, 2015.
An additional part of amnesty was created by the Los Angeles County Court in collaboration with the collections agency GC Services, an agency that collects on all unpaid traffic tickets within Los Angeles County.
As part of “amnesty” (although, this part of amnesty does NOT include reduction in fines on your ticket), GC Services will clear the hold on your driver’s license for a payment of $50 down. But be careful!
You don’t want to pay GC Services under “amnesty” if you don’t have to.
Why You Shouldn’t Pay GC Services Under Traffic Ticket “Amnesty”
As discussed above, true amnesty only applies to tickets due on or before January 1, 2013. GC Services has extended “amnesty” to tickets due after January 1, 2013 – BUT, you will NOT get a reduction of 50-80% of your traffic ticket. The only benefit is that you get to pay a smaller down payment ($50).
However, be advised that paying GC Services on your traffic ticket means you are pleading guilty to all charges.
Perhaps you’re trying to meet Uber driver requirements, or simply trying to get to work without sweating about the cops pulling you over.
This means you’ll be pleading guilty to:
- a misdemeanor failure to appear, which will go on your criminal record;
- potentially a moving violation, which will cause a point to go on your DMV record;
- ultimately you’ll pay higher fines, because the GC Services amount is an inflated amount that wouldn’t be due if you handle the ticket in court.
GC Services will dangle a carrot in front of you and try to get you to focus on one issue only: clearing the hold from your license. It’s important to get your license back ASAP to avoid a driving on a suspended license charge, but not in exchange for the many negative consequences of paying GC Services, as discussed above.
The Better Option than Paying GC Services under Traffic Ticket Amnesty
Did you know in the case where you have a failure to appear you can still clear your DMV holds without paying GC Services? You are still entitled to your day in court, and the hold will come off of your license at your first hearing in court (called your “arraignment”).
As a Los Angeles traffic ticket attorney, I get many calls from people who paid GC Services with the promise their license would be cleared, only for several weeks to have gone by and no returned calls from GC Services WITHOUT THE HOLD BEING CLEARED.
As a traffic ticket attorney, I personally make sure the hold is cleared from each of my clients’ tickets so they can get their licenses reinstated.
Additional benefits to fighting your ticket in court rather than paying GC Services under their amnesty program:
- your fines will be much lower in court;
- your failure to appear charge will be dismissed or knocked down to an infraction so it won’t go on your criminal record;
- your fines will be substantially reduced, if not dismissed altogether (depending on your charges, and the facts of your case – but this is true in 99% of the cases I handle for my clients);
- you won’t have to deal with the headache of GC Services anymore;
- you won’t have to go to court (I go to court for you).
In the case where you have a “failure to pay” (FTP), this means you’ve seen the judge already and you are not entitled to another court date. In this case only you must pay GC Services.
But even if the ticket is in FTP status, do not pay that ticket if it is older than 5 years old! Tickets older than 5 years old will no longer hold your license. The DMV will “purge” the holds from old traffic tickets and you can get your license reinstated at the DMV without paying tickets older than 5 years old.
Choose Us Rather than GC Services
As a Los Angeles traffic ticket attorney, I’ve helped thousands of clients evade GC Services’ deception and get the results they deserve by handling their tickets in court where they should be handled.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how we can help, call me (Attorney Paul Denni) at 888-250-8450.
If you’d like me to contact you instead, please fill out the contact form below.