New California law helps 'indigent drivers' pay parking tickets

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 11/2/2017

A new law in California is intended to help “indigent” vehicle pay for parking violations.

State law now permits unpaid parking tickets to add up over time into hundreds of dollars of fees.

To make matters worse, the California Department of Motor Vehicles is required to refuse vehicle registration renewal to anyone with unpaid penalties. As a result, the escalating amount of unpaid tickets has made it difficult for some drivers to register their vehicles if their fines went unpaid.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that allows impoverished people with outstanding parking citations to repay their fines and penalties over time. Specifically, AB503 requires cities to offer monthly payment programs and reduced fines before the DMV can withhold vehicle registration.

No additional fees could be charged to anyone opting in to a payment plan.

Criteria also be established to determine an individual’s status as indigent.

Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, said the change sets a process to preserve low-income drivers’ ability to register and drive their vehicles.

Opponents said the rule change offers special treatment to drivers who ignored or neglected their outstanding parking tickets to the point the DMV has withheld their registration.

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