In these tough economic times, more and more traffic offenders are finding it increasingly difficult to pay court mandated fines for tickets. Fortunately, California law permits payments of fines and fees in installments. Specifically, if an infraction violation of the Vehicle Code or an infraction violation of an ordinance adopted under the code does not require a court appearance, the court clerk may accept a payment and forfeiture of bail in installments. An initial installment payment of at least 10 percent of the total bail amount for each infraction violation must be made to the court clerk before the date on which the violator promised to appear, or before to the expiration of any continuance, or on receipt of information that an action has been filed and before the scheduled court date. According to one knowledgable Kern County DUI Attorney, as a condition of payment of bail installments, the defendant must sign an Agreement To Pay and Forfeit Bail in Installments, which sets out the terms of the installment payment schedule as agreed upon with the court. The right to make payments on a fine also apply to misdemeanor offenses such as drunk driving and DUI.
The defendant must also submit proof of correction when such proof is mandatory for a correctable offense. When the clerk accepts the agreement for payment and forfeiture of bail installments, the clerk must continue the appearance date to the date scheduled for completion of payment and forfeiture of bail in the agreement. For purposes of reporting violations to the DMV under Vehicle Code §1803, the date that the defendant signs an agreement to pay and forfeit in installments is reported as the date of conviction.
The defendant must pay to the clerk or collection agency a fee equal to the administrative and clerical costs of processing installment accounts as determined by the board of supervisors or the court, up to a maximum of $35. If the defendant fails to make an installment payment according to the agreement, the court may charge a failure to appear or pay under CA law, says a Kern County DUI Lawyer, and the court must impose a civil assessment as provided under current law, or issue an arrest warrant for a failure to appear. The sanctions for failure to pay the fines can indeed be harsh.
Vehicle Code §40512 provides that if the defendant does not make an installment payment as agreed and fails to appear at a compliance appearance, either in person or by counsel, the kern county court may continue the arraignment to a date beyond the date of the last installment payment date, issue an arrest warrant, or impose a civil assessment as provided under Penal Code §1214.1 for the failure to appear. If the traffic ticket violator has paid all the required bail funds and does not appear at a compliance hearing, the court may declare bail forfeited and order that no further proceedings take place in the case, with specified exceptions.