Parking Ticket Reprieve for City of Richmond

The city of Richmond came up with a new state law that could be the solution for low income drivers stuck with unpaid parking tickets.

It’s a cycle that many low-income Californians find themselves in, an unpaid parking ticket can lead to stacked late fees and as those fees start piling up, the DMV then refuses to register or renew a person’s car or license.

"We get penalized and fined, often we get trapped in this situation where it’s so difficult to pay our way out of it," said Richmond resident Abigail Sims-Evelyn.

This year, a new state law goes into effect which gives low-income drivers with outstanding parking fines a chance to repay their fines through a payment plan.

"This is a working community," Sims-Evelyn said. "Imagine a system taking away your car, the one thing that you need to get to your job."

The Richmond City Council approved an ordinance that sets up that payment program and payments can be as low as $25 a month.

"This program is important especially for hard working people that are struggling to pay bills every single day, struggling to pay their DMV fees," said Richmond City Councilmember Jovanka Beckles. "If you drive without registration, you can be arrested and so the reason this is so good, when you can’t pay it, you can just make the payment plan."

If the ordinance goes into effect, every parking citation issued in Richmond will have information about the payment plan and how to qualify for it.

"You’ll be able to register your car and go to work and go to school and make a living," said Beckles.

The ordinance will need a second reading, but Councilmember Beckles said low-income drivers in Richmond will be able to take advantage of the payment program by September.

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