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Financial Hardship and Ability to Pay Your Fine

If you have a financial hardship and can show that you are unable to pay the full amount of a fine for any infraction offense (including traffic offenses), you may ask the Court to consider your ability to pay in setting a fine amount, asking to complete community service, establishing a payment plan, or asking to suspend the fine altogether.

You may ask for an ability to pay determination at nearly any point in the court process but you must enter a plea before a determination can be made. Please use the TR 320/CR320 form (below) in order to provide information that should be considered in connection with the determination.

Individuals who have cases in Collections Status due to failing to appear may request the Court to vacate the Civil Assessment for good cause by completing Form SUPTMV 061 below and also TR 320/CR320 (also below), if needed, in order to provide information that should be considered in connection with the determination.

Please submit all of the following forms when making your request:

  • TR-320/CR320 - Can't Afford to Pay Fine: Traffic and Other Infractions

Installment Payments

Detail

You may ask to pay a fine with installment payments or a payment plan that can be established to make the payment of a fine more affordable. If you wish to use a payment plan to pay a fine, you would do so at the time of judgment on your case (or anytime after that). If you are seeking to use a payment plan for an infraction violation, then you must first enter a plea of "guilty" or "no contest" and request to establish a payment plan. Defaulting on a payment plan can result in your case being sent to collections and being assessed an additional fee of $300. Requesting an extension of time to pay a fine is also possible (depending on the circumstances).

Fee

There is a $35 administrative fee to establish a payment plan for vehicle code violations and a $30 fee for non-vehicle code violations.

What to do

Requests for payment plans may be made in person at either the Santa Cruz or Watsonville Courthouse locations. Requests can also be made by mail or email with a written plea. Written requests shall be mailed to Superior Court of Santa Cruz County, 701 Ocean Street, Room 120, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Emails shall be sent to traffic.information@santacruzcourt.org. For more information you may call 831-420-2200.

Community Service

Detail

Individuals may choose to perform community service in order to pay all or a portion of a fine.

Fee

There is an annual fee of $50. The annual fee (or a portion of the fee) may be waived based on ability to pay according to your income. More information about fees and fee waivers is available by clicking on the link to the Santa Cruz Volunteer Center listed below.

What to do

Please visit The Santa Cruz Volunteer Center for more information about community service.

Fine Reduction

Detail

You may request a fine reduction should you have a financial hardship and can show that you are unable to pay the full amount of the fine.

Fee

No additional fee

What to do

Civil Assessment

Detail

The Court may add a Civil Assessment fee of $300 to a case that is referred to collections because of a delinquent fine. Individuals who have cases with the Civil Assessment added to them may petition the Court to remove or reduce the Civil Assessment based on the circumstances for failing to pay. Individuals may also ask for an ability to pay determination at nearly any point in the court process but must enter a plea before a determination can be made unless one has already been entered.

Fee

No additional fee

What to do

Complete the following forms and deliver them to the Santa Cruz Courthouse (701 Ocean Street, Room 120, Santa Cruz, CA 95060) either by mail or in person:

 

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