can't afford to pay

CAN'T AFFORD TO PAY YOUR TRAFFIC TICKET?

If you are unable to pay your traffic ticket or fine, you have the right to ask the Court to consider your financial circumstances. You may be eligible to have your fines and fees reduced by 80% or more.

Please be sure to follow all instructions on your ticket and any notices sent to you, including payment deadlines, to avoid late fee penalties.

Visit the When You're in Court page to learn more about appearing in court and resolving your ticket.

 

AM I ELGIBLE FOR A DISCOUNT?

There are THREE ways you can qualify for a discount based on your income, you can either:
 

  1. Indicate you receive public benefits such as Medi-Cal; CalFresh (Food Stamps); CalWORKs or Tribal TANF; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); General Assistance (GA) or County Adult Assistance Program (CAAP); In Home Supportive Services (IHSS); or Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI).


    OR


     
  2. Show that your income is less than 250% of the Federal Poverty Level:

Household Size

1

2

3

4

Income Equal to or Less Than

$31,900

$43,100

$54,300

$65,500

R           Review the Federal Poverty Line guidelines to find out if your household income is within these guidelines.


                OR


 

  1. Describe your financial hardship. If you have another financial hardship that prevents you from paying for your household’s basic needs and the full amount of your traffic ticket, you can describe the hardship as part of the application.

 

 

HOW DO I REQUEST AN ABILITY TO PAY DISCOUNT?

There are FOUR options. Use the table below to find the best one for you.

 

OPTIONS

HOW TO APPLY

1. Apply Online

This option works well if:

  • The deadline to pay your ticket is upcoming or has passed. This option works for both.
  • You have internet access.
  • You need a fast response. You will hear from the court in 30 days, the fastest option.
     

Do not use this option if:

  • You would like to attend traffic school.
  • You have a fix-it ticket.
     

Apply Online

You will need your ticket number*, and proof of your income such as your benefits card, pay stubs, or information about your financial hardship. If your online application did not go through, you can still submit a request using a paper form. You will hear a decision from the court in 30 days.

*If your case does not contain a Driver’s License or ID number, please call the clerk (415) 551-8540 so you can apply online.

 

2. Apply In-Person or By Mail

This option works well if:

  • The deadline to pay your ticket has passed.

 

Do not use this option if:

  • The deadline to pay your ticket is upcoming.
  • You would like to attend traffic school.
  • You have a fix-it ticket.
     

 

Apply In Person or By Mail

You can fill out an Ability to Pay paper form and return it in person or by mail to the Traffic Clerk with proof of your financial situation (if available).

The Traffic Clerk is available Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 850 Bryant St., Room 145, Window 5.

For a link to the form, and more information about how to apply, click here. You will hear a decision from the court in four to six weeks.

3. Apply for a Leniency Request with Traffic School

This option works well if:

  • The deadline to pay your ticket is upcoming.
  • The violation would cause a point to be added to your driving record.
  • You would like to attend traffic school.
     

Do not use this if:

  • The deadline to pay your ticket has passed.
  • You have a fix-it ticket.
     

Apply for a Leniency Request with Traffic School

Complete the application form at the link above. This option requires a plea of No Contest or Guilty.

You will hear a decision from the court in four to six weeks.

4. CONNECT Program

This option works well if:

  • You are experiencing homelessness.
  • You received a Quality of Life citation. Examples of eligible Quality of Life citations include: obstructing the sidewalk, littering, and having an open container of alcohol.
  • You would like to receive social services to clear your citation.

 

Do not use this if:

  • You have a fix-it ticket or ticket for a moving violation.
  • You would like to attend traffic school.
     

CONNECT Program

You may be able to clear certain citations if you receive 20 hours or more of social services assistance. Learn more about the San Francisco District Attorney's Office CONNECT program. Read the FAQs for this program to see if this option will work for you. If you would like to apply, print out the application form and follow the instructions. 

 

 

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

 

Can I Get Help Filling Out the Application?

There are several  community organizations that can help you complete the application process. They include:

Bay Area Legal Aid

If you are a San Francisco Human Services Agency aid recipient on either CALWORKS, Personal Assisted Employment Services (PAES), or Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) or MEDI-CAL programs, please talk to your case worker about a possible referral to Bay Area Legal Aid for free legal assistance.

Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco

Address: 468 Turk Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Drop-in Clinics: Wednesdays at 10:00 am – 12:00 pm.

East Bay Community Law Center

Address: 1950 University Avenue, Suite 200, Berkeley, CA 94704

For referrals or to schedule an appointment, call (510) 548-4040

Or drop in during our open hours on Wednesdays 9:00am-12:00pm.

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

Address: 330 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Hours: Mondays and Thursdays 2:00-5:00 pm

GLIDE (ask for the legal clinic at the front desk)

Legal Services for Children (for individuals under the age of 21).

Address: 1254 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102.

Phone: 415-863-3762

 

I Received a Fix-It Ticket. Can I Request A Discount?

Unfortunately, the Ability to Pay options above do not address fix-it tickets.

 

My Ticket Was Referred to Alliance One. Can I Still Request A Discount?

Yes, you still have the right to ask the Court to consider your financial circumstances as described above. To request a discount, you can use the online or paper application described above. Once your order has been adjusted, you can also arrange for a payment plan with Alliance One for as low as $25 per month. To learn more about the status of your outstanding balance with Alliance One, call 1 (877) 541-8420. Be sure to have these items ready when you call: Name, Driver’s License Number, Citation Number.

 

My License is on Hold for Failures to Appear. Can I Still Request a Discount?

If your driver’s license was suspended for failing to pay or failing to appear in the San Francisco Traffic Court, you may be able to get your license back. The court has eliminated all license suspensions for failure to pay and failure to appear. You can now go to the DMV and request to have your license reinstated. You may still have your license suspended for other reasons. To learn more, see the this flyer.