Florida will celebrate a statewide amnesty on surcharges for late, unpaid traffic tickets on April 18. The motion is called “Operation Green Light,” and it will grant drivers the opportunity to pay late speeding tickets, red light camera tickets, and more — all without paying the usual 25 to 40% surcharge. Some Floridians may even be able to make amends for more serious traffic violations. Kimberly Collins, a director of criminal courts in Florida, hopes the measure will “allow customers to reinstate suspended driver’s licenses once they have paid in full,” according to an April 3 article in The Suncoast News. Driving with a suspended drivers license is, of course, illegal — and county courts encourage state residents to take advantage of Operation Green Light to drive legally again.
While April 18 promises lower costs for Florida residents, what can drivers in other states do if they are overwhelmed by traffic tickets and/or the costs to reinstate a suspended drivers license?
Ask Yourself: Is This My First Offense?
According to Business Insider, “In many cases, the district attorney will offer first-time offenders a reduced fine and will not release the citation to the insurance company.” The 200 million U.S. drivers (as of May 2014) may be eligible for “no contest” pleas and first-time offender reductions once per county.
Take It To Court
This isn’t necessarily as scary as it sounds. Although speeding contributes to 29% of all fatal crashes and 97% of drivers feel threatened when others run red lights, if you did not cause a crash or accident, you can likely plea for a lesser infraction. Most times, you will simply have to talk to the judge — instead of appearing in front of a court room full of people. You may also be able to agree on a lower offense without stepping foot into a court or county clerk’s office period.
Tickets and traffic violations happen — and, once they have, it can be difficult to pay exorbitant charges in order to remain debt-free, penalty-free, or even to drive legally. If you are struggling with debt related to traffic violations, talk to an attorney about your options for reducing ticket costs.