CSAC Bulletin Article

Request Fine and Fee Reduction Without Going to the Courthouse

May 11, 2023

In prior years, asking for a reduction in the amount of a traffic ticket meant filing a request in person at the courthouse or even appearing before a judge. A new online tool, MyCitations, offered by a growing number of courts is not only saving litigants a trip to the courthouse, but it’s also saving them money.

MyCitations is an online tool that allows low-income individuals with traffic infraction violations to request a reduction in their fines and fees without going to the courthouse. Other options available to users are a payment plan, additional time to pay, or community service. Launched in 2019, the program has already assisted 50,000 litigants, as nearly six out of every ten court filings in California are infractions, and more than 95% of those are traffic cases.

Also, the MyCitations report contains results from an evaluation of the program’s pilot period, which included seven courts and ran from April 2019 through July 2021. That evaluation found that cases granted a reduction had a 61% success rate for full repayment, while cases denied reductions had only a 29% success rate. Additionally, the report analyzed the number of requests made in court via the paper form against the number of online requests made during the same period.

Since the start of 2023, nine additional California superior courts have come on board, bringing the total to 25 using the online tool. The 25 courts are Amador, Fresno, Humboldt, Imperial, Lassen, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Nevada, Placer, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Trinity, Tulare, Ventura and Yolo. The 33 remaining superior courts are expected to start using the tool by July 2024. The Judicial Council also plans to expand the functions available with the MyCitations tool to provide litigants with more options to do business with the courts remotely. For additional information and to read the entire article please click here.

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