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LA Court Can't Place Added Fines On People Unable To Pay Traffic Tickets

NORTH HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Superior Court will no longer be able to issue additional fines to people who cannot afford to pay jaywalking and traffic citations as part of a court settlement.

The Southern California office of the American Civil Liberties Union on Monday announced the settlement, which states the court will now allow defendants to prove their inability to pay their fines. The ACLU served as the plaintiffs' co-counsel in Alvarado v. Los Angeles Superior Court. The two women who filed the lawsuit had their driver's licenses suspended because they could not afford to pay the fines from multiple traffic violations.

"This settlement is a victory for low-income Los Angeles residents, who have been facing skyrocketing costs of living in recent years," said ACLU attorney Devon Porter.

It was welcome news for many people who spoke to CBS2 News Monday.

"I have been there before, like, when it was 200 bucks just piling up," said one man. "I know some people might take advantage of it, but most people need it, you know? Like the people that's really struggling."

"Tickets usually come at the very wrong time, so, I mean, we need some help," laughed one woman.

Under the settlement, the court has to notify defendants of the option to claim financial hardship.

Last year, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that put an end to driver's license suspensions due to unpaid parking tickets.

(Editor's note: A previous version of this post erroneously indicated parking tickets were part of the court settlement.)

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