Motorists in Suffolk County will no longer pay a $50 administrative fee (SCTPVA Traffic Ticket Fees) if they’re found not guilty of traffic infractions.
The county legislature unanimously approved a bill that bars the new Traffic & Parking Violations Agency from charging the fee in the majority of cases that are dismissed — an issue that had become a sore spot with many residents and lawmakers.
Since Suffolk opened its own traffic agency (the SCTPVA) in April, it has been a particularly profitable court. It has handled more than 50,000 cases and collected more than $10 million in fines.
Nearly $500,000 (5%) of the total came from fees on dismissed tickets.
After complaints from the public and county lawmakers, County Executive Steve Bellone backed the decision to end these fees and said he would issue refunds to the thousands of drivers who have already paid the fees after dismissals. Fee refunds for 2013 could approach $400,000.
Unfortunately, the bill passed Tuesday also increases the fee for motorists found guilty to $55 as a way of recouping lost revenue.
Fees for dismissed tickets…additional fees on guilty tickets to make up for “lost revenue”… As long as traffic enforcement is about safety on the roads, right?
Submitted by Scott Feifer