468x60 General & Logo

State’s top judge releases plan to lessen impact of traffic tickets

California’s chief justice says the more than 4 million traffic tickets handed out to Californians each year for such infractions as speeding, failing to stop at a red light or failing to signal before changing lanes should no longer be criminal charges, but instead be handled in civil court. If other judicial leaders and state lawmakers agree, erring drivers would spend less time in court and would no longer face fines of up to $300, and possible license suspensions, for failing to show up for a hearing. The traffic ticket proposal, and other recommendations from a judicial panel called the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System, are designed to “improve (Californians’) interactions and experiences with our justice system” and make the courts more accessible, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said. The other recommendations, released publicly late Thursday, include a pilot technology project that would allow lawyers and witnesses in most types of cases that do not involve criminal prosecutions to take part in the proceedings from remote locations rather than going to court. The proposals are the latest response to a torrent of driver’s license suspensions brought on indirectly by the court system’s financial shortages. The proposal would not eliminate license suspensions for failing to pay fines and penalties, said commission member Mark Borrell, a Ventura County Superior Court judge.

Article by By Bob Egelko (c) Page One News - Read full story here.