County of Marin - News Releases - Traffic Infraction Amnesty

For Immediate Release
February 07, 2017

Traffic Infraction Amnesty Program Winds Down

End of March is cutoff for statewide offer to pay old debts, clear records

San Rafael, CA – A 17-month amnesty period for people to clear their records with unpaid traffic violation tickets and non-traffic infractions is coming to a close, and the Marin County Public Defender’s Office is eager for residents to take advantage of it before the opportunity fades away.

Cars and SUVs drive along Shoreline Highway in the busy Tam Junction area.The amnesty program for some unpaid traffic tickets and fines ends March 31, 2017.
Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a one-time amnesty program for such tickets and fines in June 2015, and the sunset date is March 31, 2017. Encouraging payment of old debt allows courts and county collection programs to resolve delinquent cases and focus limited resources on collecting on the more recent cases.

Given the nationwide climate on immigration policy, Public Defender Jose Varela said “failure to appear” notices are an especially important component of the non-traffic infractions that are part of the amnesty program.

“The amnesty program was created to help find ways for people to pay a reasonable fine and get a driver’s license reinstated,” Varela said. “Some countries no longer allow people in who have a failure to appear, so it’s affecting a lot of travelers who might have a suspended driver’s license.”

People with unpaid tickets whose fines were originally due on or before January 1, 2013, who have not made a payment since September 30, 2015, may be eligible to have both their debt reduced by 50 percent or 80 percent depending on the person’s income. A driver's license may be reinstated unless an exclusion applies.

Also, people who made a payment after September 30, 2015 on a ticket are not eligible for a reduction for that ticket but might be eligible to have a driver’s license reinstated if the person is in good standing on a payment plan with a comprehensive collection program.

The amnesty program does not apply to parking tickets, reckless driving, or convictions for driving under the influence or alcohol or drugs. Anyone who owes restitution to a crime victim or has an outstanding warrant is ineligible as well.

Those eligible for the amnesty program may bring a completed application to the Traffic Clerk’s Office in Suite C-10 of Marin County Superior Court, Marin County Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. Anyone who lives 100 miles or more outside the area may mail the application and $50 fee to Marin County Superior Court. See the court’s webpage for details.


Jose Varela
Public Defender
County of Marin

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 139
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6321
Email: Jose Varela
Public Defender website