Legally Brief: Indiana’s New Traffic Amnesty Program

Indiana residents with suspended driver’s licenses or unpaid traffic fines will have the chance to have the fees they face cut in half by petitioning a court. An estimated 185,000 drivers could be eligible for the penalty reductions. Legislators have approved House Enrolled Act 1141, creating a traffic amnesty program and that bill has been signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb. This new law provides an amnesty period during which fines and reinstatement fees imposed before Jan. 1 of this year (2019) can be reduced. The amnesty period will last all of 2020.

Bill supporters say license suspensions because of overdue fines hit the poor especially hard and make traveling to jobs difficult for many people. Drivers now face fees from $250 to $1,000 for license reinstatement. While a GREAT start, this is very limited relief that must be filed in 2020 and pertains only to incidents that happened before January 1, 2019. It allows relief only for those who are not delinquent in other financial issues which may be unrealistic and necessitates the use of legal counsel for effective filing.

1. A person who qualifies for this relief may seek a reduction of:

  • Unpaid judgment for an infraction (infraction must have been committed before Jan 1, 2019)
  • Driving privileges reinstatement fee (driver’s license must have been suspended before Jan 1, 2019)
    □ Court costs, administrative fees, late fees, or other fees imposed upon me in connection with an unpaid judgment or driving privileges reinstatement fee.

2. Instructions:

  • MUST be filed in a circuit or superior court in the county in which the violation occurred.
  • MUST be filed between December 31, 2019 and before January 1, 2021.
  • MUST be served on Prosecuting Attorney; PA has 30 days to respond. (hearing possible)
  • MUST file separate petitions in each county.
  • NO filing fee.

3. A Verified Petition for Traffic Amnesty MUST include:

  •  Full name and any aliases
  •  Date of birth
  • Case number or court case number of original violations
  • Affirmation of eligibility
    • No child support arrearage or current in the last 6 months
    • No outstanding arrest warrant
    • Current with restitution payments to victims if ordered
  • Social Security number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Date of the violation

The Court SHALL grant if:

  • Person is a “qualified person”;
  • Violation occurred before Jan 1, 2019.

4. The following persons are not eligible:

  • A person with a child support arrearage who has NOT been making consistent payments for the last six months.
  • A person with an outstanding arrest warrant.
  • A person sentenced to pay restitution to the victim if they are not current with those payments.

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