L.A., O.C. courts grant grace period for traffic infractions amid coronavirus

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A gavel is seen in a courtroom in this file photo. (Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

A gavel is seen in a courtroom in this file photo. (Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Los Angeles and Orange County courts offered automatic extensions for all traffic infractions amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak affecting Southern California, officials said Friday.

Due dates for all traffic infractions and non-traffic infractions in Los Angeles County were extended by 90 days, according to the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Orange County Superior Court made a similar move.

The temporary relief programs are intended to help mitigate the economic challenges residents are facing as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“While you are facing an unprecedented threat to your lives and your livelihood, one thing you do not have to worry about is paying a traffic ticket or losing your license,” L.A. County Superior Court Presiding Judge Kevin Brazile said in a written statement. “Focus on staying safer at home and riding out this storm.”

Defendants do not have to call the court clerk’s office to take advantage of the relief, and the court will not be taking any action to send such matters to collections if they remain unpaid or assess civil assessments, L.A. court officials said.

Traffic infraction defendants in L.A. County who have a suspended driver’s licenses because of unpaid tickets can call the court to schedule a future hearing date, and can also request to have an immediate release of their driver’s license hold from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

“Defendants should be aware that COVID-19 has affected the DMV’s ability to process these requests, so there may be some delays in having the holds lifted,” Brazile said. More information is available online.

In Orange County, fines and hearings related to traffic infraction citations that had been scheduled between March 17 and May 31 were being automatically moved to new dates in June or July. The court’s online services were also being expanded, officials said.

The new deadlines can be viewed on the Orange County Superior Court’s Public Case Access Page. Notices with new traffic hearing dates were being printed and mailed to defendants.

“Our goal is simple, ensure that the public we serve is not burdened by court appearances, paying fines or having to show proof of compliance with court ordered programs during these very challenging times,” according to a statement issued by Orange County court officials.

Extended compliance dates in Orange County include: citation payment or appearance dates; proof of correction, community service or traffic school; and monthly installment payments.

Courts in Orange County have also stopped issuing failure to appear notices to the DMV and removed any that were issued during the court’s initial closure period, officials said.

Court officials were also adding 60 days automatically to the due dates on new citations issued by law enforcement officers in Orange County.

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