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I ignored 4 traffic tickets from 2010 & 2011 now equaling $4K & loss of DL . Will plea of financial distress reduce amt of fees?

San Diego, CA |

I have lived at the poverty level since 2010 making $12-$15k a year as a substitute teacher. My tickets are speeding, running red light, and 2 fix-it tickets (not fixed of course) for no proof of insurance and incorrect license plate on newly purchased truck (should have been commercial tag because camper had been removed)- which can be fixed. I have recently incurred $200k in emerg. hospital bills. I have no car and no savings. I feel I need to file bankruptcy and go back to school to earn a livable wage. I also have a med. history of anxiety/depression. Will the court recognize these types of hardships? Cost of original traffic tickets combined=$1000. Could I negotiate to pay only this amt so that I may get my DL reinstated? Otherwise it could take 4 yrs to pay off inorder to receive DL.

Attorney Answers 6


I'm not convinced a Judge will feel lenient with you this long after the fact, but you could try. I would certainly take all my documentation in with me to back up your claim. It might be worth talking to a local lawyer just to see what they might be able to do and what it would cost. I hope this was helpful

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Sorry for your situation, but candidly, such a request will likely not be successful. You could however request to convert some of your fines to community service, perhaps. It would also be a good idea to consult with a good, local defense attorney who is readily familiar with the local traffic court judges and policies, etc. Most of us here offer free consultations. Good luck.

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Did you ever go to court on any of these tickets? Speak with a San Diego traffic attorney.


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What has likely caused these fines and fees to skyrocket are the civil assessments added on for either failure to appear or failure to pay. Most judges don't waive those fees, but they can if a true hardship or excuse is shown. With what you wrote, you may get a judge to feel compassionate and give you a break, suspending or reducing the fees. No guarantee, but it's worth a try.

If you cannot get your license because of the failure to pay, typically you must pay off the entire balance before they'll lift the hold on your license. Again - it never hurts to ask if the court would lift the hold so you can get your license reinstated, employed and more able to pay off the fines.

Documentation will be key for you. Don't bring in a shoebox of wadded up papers and expect a judge to sort through it all. Make it easy for them. Put them in some sort of order and neatly present them. Putting them all in a simple binder with tabs for medical bills, employment history, etc will help.

Good luck.

The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case.

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2 lawyers agree


Can't hurt to try. Your biggest issue is with all the hardships you mention NONE excuse not going to court for 4 years and addressing the issue.

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You need to consult a local (San Diego) attorney if the tickets are in San Diego. In Riverside, San Bernardino & Los Angeles for SOME courts there are things an attorney can do to attempt to dismiss the cases or at least to minimize the financial affect. It's too complicated for a short answer, but it doesn't always work in every court (& I really don't know for San Diego). I've had some clients with multiple charges over numerous years and was successful in this process each time. But it doesn't work for every case!

The responding attorney works in Southern California and cannot answer for all jurisdictions. Every case is different due to differences in facts. Therefore, it is important to be sure your protecting your rights and knowing your obligations by seeking advise from an Attorney. This does not constitute legal advise since all facts are unknown.

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