Friday, November 28, 2008
New Civil Fee and Traffic Fine Structure to Take Effect Jan. 1
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A new fee structure will go into effect for civil filings Jan. 1, and penalties and assessments for traffic tickets and criminal convictions will increase, the Judicial Council announced Wednesday.
The filing fee for civil cases will increase by $30 in “unlimited” filings, $25 where the amount at issue is $10,000 to $25,000 and by $20 where the amount at issue is $10,000 or less.
Traffic tickets paid on or after Jan. 1 will carry an additional $35 assessment and, in some counties, an increased court construction penalty, while the fee to process a request to attend traffic school will be increased from $24 to $49, and the fee for proof-of-correction citations tickets will be increased from $10 per citation to $25 per violation.
Fines imposed upon convictions of misdemeanors or felonies on or after Jan. 1 will result in an additional $30 assessment. In some counties, these convictions will also be subject to an increased court construction penalty as well.
Adjustments can be made to the fees and fines to accommodate financial hardship, and in certain criminal cases, the fine can be converted to community service, the council said.
The increases are expected to generate an estimated $280 million annually, according to the council, and finance a $5-billion capital outlay program to fund repairs, renovations, and replacement of court facilities as part of SB 1407, authored by Senator Don Perata, D-Oakland, which the governor signed into law Sept. 26.
Administrative Director of the Courts William C. Vickrey said that the passage of SB 1407 “demonstrates the commitment by the Legislature and the Governor to ensuring that the judicial branch has the tools and resources to address one of the judicial branch’s key priorities: repairing and rebuilding our crumbling courthouse infrastructure.”
The council said that 90 percent of court facilities in California need improvements, 78 percent are not fully accessible to disabled persons, and 68 percent lack security adequate for the design of the facility.
The council has identified 69 courthouse projects in “immediate and critical need” and voted in October to recommend funding for 41 of those projects through SB 1407.
Among them is the building of new courthouse facilities in southeast Los Angeles, Glendale and Santa Clarita, a new juvenile courthouse, a mental health courthouse, and renovations to the Lancaster courthouse.
A total of 41 projects in 34 counties across the state will be provided new or renovated courthouses over the next decade under the bill.
Other projects include the construction of two new courthouses in Kern County, and new courthouses in the counties of Alameda, Alpine, Butte, El Dorado, Imperial, Inyo, Kings, Lake, Mendocino, Merced, Monterey, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Tehama, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, Santa Clara, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tuolumne and Yolo; and renovations to courthouses in the counties of Fresno, Glenn, Riverside, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, and Solano.
Pursuant to the Trial Court Facilities Act of 2002, the state, through the Judicial Council and the Administrative Office of the Courts’ Office of Court Construction and Management, is responsible for the operation, maintenance, renovation, and construction of local court facilities.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company