Reduced court fees could ease debt

Illinois Capitol News

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Violate the law and there’s a price to pay. But, steep fines and harsh penalties can just put someone in a hole impossible to dig out of.

Now, thanks to some work at the Capitol, it could change. Studies show fines and fees attached to tickets can be big setbacks and strict rules can eventually cost the state more money.

But, a few proposals just introduced could create a waiver system for criminal and traffic fines. Three bills address the issue.

One stops the state from suspending a driver’s license when someone stops paying a ticket. Another allows someone to have records sealed or expunged even if they still owe court fees. The third would reduce some costs overall.

At least one traffic attorney says he’s happy to hear the state making the changes. All three bills are the result of a 2013 task force. It was created to find solutions for excessive court fees and fines.

The bill’s sponsor says he’s received some support from judges, prosecutors and county clerks.

One group concerned about the reduction in fees is rural fire stations. Leaders say cutting back on those fees would substantially impact money they get.

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