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SF Cancels $50 Million in Late Fees for Traffic Fines

Fees assessed before July 1 of this year will be eliminated
By - posted 9/20/2022 No Comment

By Thomas Hughes, BCN Foundation

Tens of thousands of San Francisco residents are having debt from late fees for traffic fines wiped from the books. The San Francisco Superior Court eliminated $50 million in outstanding fees last week, according to a statement from the city treasurer’s office. The move cancelled 180,000 civil assessments.

The change, in line with Assembly Bill 199, will also reduce the fee going forward from $300 to $100 for late payments. In addition, the money will now go to the state’s general fund, rather than to fund local courts. The move is meant to curb the incentive courts have for raising revenue through issuing citations.

Fees assessed before July 1 of this year will be eliminated, while those issued after that date will be capped at the new $100 amount. The debt elimination law was a result of advocacy by the coalition Debt Free Justice California, which is comprised of over 60 organizations, according to the release.

“California should not fund our local courts by asking the courts to impose fees that they benefit from. Courts should be funded separate and apart from these fees,” said Anne Stuhldreher, director of The Financial Justice Project in the office of San Francisco Treasurer Jose Cisneros. “Eliminating the debt from this unfair and unnecessary fee and lowering it is a commonsense reform and an important step forward. It will bring relief to hundreds of thousands of Californians.”

In San Francisco, about a third of all traffic fines were not paid on time and assessed a late fee.

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