Monday, May 10, 2010

Winnebago County to start collecting traffic fines.

From the Rockford Register Star: Winnebago County is trying to collect approximately $84.6 million in unpaid court fines. Beginning on April 1st, they started assigning future court dates to all traffic tickets to ensure payment of the court fines. The only way to avoid the second appearance is pay the fines in full. The article says that if this is successful, they may do the same for DUIs and other criminal offenses.

News Flash: This will not help you collect the $84.6 million in past due fines. This will only ensure collection of future fines.

News Flash II: Every county in which I practice has been doing this for at least 7 years already, in one form or another.

1 comment:

Michael D. Wong said...

Champaign County recently assigned its unpaid traffic tickets to a debt collection agency. This has caused significant problems as according to the Circuit Clerk, when fines are paid after the Court hearing, the quoted court costs are actually just a "estimate" of what the actual Court costs may be and that individuals have to check back later once it has been entered into the system to see whether they owe any more. In some circumstances this has meant individuals who believed they had paid tickets are now being harassed by the debt collection agency for late fees, collections costs, etc... because they were not told it was an "estimate."
Personally I think this raises all sorts of issues. One of them being what if the individual overpaid? Does the Circuit Clerk issue them a refund or has the Circuit Clerk simply held on to the funds denying those individuals the right to their assets?