Fresno Court Offers Payment Plans for Traffic Fines

FRESNO, Calif. Every day a very long and slow moving line forms outside Fresno's Traffic Court. The stories are pretty much sound the same.

Paul Beltran said, "Officer so and so ... he pulled me over. He said I didn't stop which I did stop."

Beltran got a ticket for running a stop sign and having no insurance. The fine is $988.00.

"It's tough. That's almost close to a thousand dollar ticket and I am a single parent. That's even more tougher," said Beltran.

Court staff are putting more people like Beltran on payment plans- to pay off their tickets over several months. Traffic Manager Tiffany Alvarado notices the trend.

"I get a lot of ... I can't do it this pay period but I can do it next pay period. You have the option to an extension which we can give you over the phone. You can call us if you haven't had an extension before, we can give you a 30 day extension over the phone," said Alavardo.

Between 2007 and 2008 the courthouse handled nearly 142-thousand traffic infractions.

The least expensive single violation is $137.00 for driving and talking on a cell phone. One of the most expensive- driving without insurance- amounts to a $785.00 fine.

Defense Attorney Mac McGinnis said, "The majority of people just let it slide after they make their first appearance."

McGinnis recommends- anyone on a tight budget- fight the ticket and take the officer to trial.

"If he doesn't show up and you do and it is your court trial day, the court will dismiss the case. So that's going save you insurance money, that's going to save you points on your record," said McGinnis.

But most will have to pay money up front to see a judge.


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