Dear Service Providers,
As you may know, the Governor’s Traffic Tickets/Infractions Amnesty program began yesterday, October 1. This program is an exciting opportunity to help our clients reduce unpaid bail, fines, and fees by up to 80% and/or have their driver’s licenses restored.
That being said, at this time we want to urge caution when recommending the program to clients. We should take great care to ensure that clients are prepared for this program before we refer them.
In San Francisco and many Bay Area counties, the first step in the application process is a direct screening with a private debt collections company called Alliance One. If a client is unprepared to address all debts that may be held by Alliance One or pay the amnesty program’s administrative fees, we do not advise that they share their personal information with the company or apply for the amnesty program at this time.
Here are some questions to assess a client’s preparedness for the amnesty program:
- In how many counties is your client’s driver’s license suspended? Each county may impose a separate $50 administrative fee.
- Is your client (or your agency, on behalf of the client) prepared to pay the each county’s $50 administrative fee and DMV’s $55 driver’s license reinstatement fee? (Note that the DMV fees may exceed $55 depending on the client’s circumstances – for example, if the license expired.)
- Is your client (or your agency, on behalf of the client) prepared to pay off the remaining bail, fines, or fees owed or to enter into a payment plan with Alliance One? In San Francisco the minimum monthly payment is $25. That’s also the maximum monthly payment for persons on public assistance.
- Does your client have additional outstanding debt (e.g. credit card debt) in collections by Alliance One? Is he or she prepared to address that debt? Once a client has provided personal information to Alliance One, there is nothing to prevent that company from beginning collections outside of the amnesty program.
If you are unsure that a client is prepared for this program, at this point we recommend holding off on contacting Alliance One. We are working with other City departments, San Francisco Superior Court, and local legal aid organizations to prepare guidance on how best to assist your clients. We will follow up with you in the coming weeks with more information.
Again, this program is an exciting opportunity, and please do help clients that are ready to go. For those clients whose driver’s license was suspended in San Francisco, here is the link to the San Francisco Superior Court’s webpage devoted to this program. You can find the application form and FAQs on this webpage.
But we do urge caution for those clients that may not be prepared to go through the process at this time. The amnesty program is in effect through March 31, 2017 so there is time to make sure we get it right based on each client’s individual circumstances.
More to come – and please let us know should you have any questions or suggestions.
Thanks again for your partnership.