LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a consumer alert to warn Californians about debt collectors giving consumers inaccurate information about the amnesty program for unpaid traffic and non-traffic infraction tickets. The amnesty program offers eligible Californians who have unpaid infraction tickets the opportunity to have their debt reduced by half or more and to have their driver’s license reinstated. Each county has its own rules related to the amnesty program, so you must contact the county that issued your ticket to see if you qualify. The program, which started October 1, 2015, continues through March 31, 2017.
This consumer alert is being issued because of complaints made against debt collectors managing the amnesty program for some counties, claiming that they are not telling eligible consumers about the program or are providing misleading information. The Attorney General’s Office has received complaints about:
Here is what you should know about the amnesty program:
When will the amnesty program be available?
The program started October 1, 2015, and ends March 31, 2017.
What tickets are eligible for amnesty?
What tickets are not eligible for amnesty?
Who cannot participate in the debt reduction portion of the amnesty program?
How much will I have to pay?
Under the amnesty program, eligible participants will not have to pay any civil assessments. Once the civil assessments are deducted, the remaining balance owed will be reduced by 50% or 80%, depending on income or whether you receive public assistance.
How do I participate in the amnesty program?
Contact the Superior Court in the county where you received the ticket to see if you qualify for the amnesty program. If you have more than one ticket in more than one county, you will have to contact the Superior Court in multiple counties.
Will there be a fee to participate?
A $50 fee may be charged by the Superior Court, county, or third party collection agency.
The DMV will also charge a $55 fee for reinstatement of your driver’s license, as it does for any license reinstatement.
Will there be an installment payment option?
Yes, a payment plan option will be available through the Superior Court, county, or third party collection agency. Payments will be based on the ability to pay.
To File a Complaint and for More Information:
If you have information about a debt collector giving people misleading information about the program, you can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office online here (https://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company), or by sending a letter to:
Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
The Judicial Council has also posted information about the amnesty program, available at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/trafficamnesty.htm.