D.C. drivers have another chance to pay off past-due traffic tickets without a penalty.
Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday that the District will extend its ticket amnesty program, which allows drivers behind on outstanding parking, speeding, red light, and other tickets to pay only the initial fine without the additional late fees, until December 31.
Now in its third run over the last 15 years, the program was set to end this month. But D.C. officials decided to extend the current iteration, which became the most successful yet in getting people to pay their tickets, Deputy Mayor for Operations and Infrastructure Lucinda Babers said.
About 32,000 drivers have paid off $44 million worth of speed and red light camera tickets, parking tickets, and other moving violation tickets since April.
"This program is providing a crucial lifeline to help families move past their ticket problem," Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday.
Drivers with outstanding tickets can also set up payment plans. Those who don't make a payment plan before Dec. 31, will see those late penalties return.
"We know that during this pandemic, there are many individuals who simply cannot afford to pay their outstanding debts," Babers said. "They want to but they cannot afford to... amnesty is another tool in our toolkit (to help)."
Babers says of the $44 million paid so far, 36% comes from Maryland residents, 26% from D.C. residents, and 20% from Virginia residents.
D.C. residents have to pay all outstanding tickets older than 90 days in order to renew their driver's license or vehicle registration. So far, there is no reciprocity agreement with Virginia and Maryland to withhold license and plate renewals until paying off fines in D.C., but Bowser is negotiating with the states to make that a reality as part of a local transportation bill passed last year. A report on those negotiations is due to the D.C. Council on Thursday.
The District also distributed this FAQ on the amnesty program:
Who is eligible?
District and non-District drivers with outstanding tickets, including District residents who are having trouble obtaining a REAL ID credential because of outstanding tickets.
What tickets are eligible?
Tickets issued before December 31, 2021.
What types of tickets are eligible?
Parking, photo enforcement (including speed, red-light, and stop sign) and minor moving violations issued by law enforcement.
What will I have to pay?
You will pay the original ticket amount. Any penalties will be waived. Department of Public Works tow and storage fees, if any, will not be waived. Residents and non-residents facing financial hardship should contact the Office of the Chief Financial Officer's Central Collection Unit (OCFO CCU) for hardship options.
This story is from DCist.com, the local news website of WAMU.