Proposal could change how traffic citations are processed

Politics - Government

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico courts are looking to change the way drivers take care of their traffic tickets. They said the process right now is too confusing.

Right now, you have two options if you get a traffic ticket. You can either pay it through MVD or fight it in court. The proposed new law would take MVD out of the picture.

Julianna Crawford got a parking ticket a few months ago. Instead of disputing it in court, she chose the other option.

“Pay the fee,” said Crawford. ” It’s easy, I don’t have time to sit in court and fight about. I’m probably gonna have to pay it anyways.”

With minor traffic citations like Crawfords’, how the ticket gets processed could soon change.

“We really do try to make it simple for the public to address penalty assessments,” said Cynthia Pacheco with the New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts.

The AOC told lawmakers Tuesday afternoon it wants to change the existing traffic citations law, meaning if someone gets ticketed, they don’t have to decide right then and there if they want to pay for it or fight it in the courtroom.

If you decide to fight it, the court will send you a summons. If you just want to pay it, you would go through the courts, instead of the MVD. You can pay it online, mail or in-person.

“This would simply be more efficient for drivers and probably be simpler on the roadside with law enforcement as well,” said a speaker endorsing the proposed law.

Drivers who KRQE News 13 spoke to are mixed on the possible change.

“I think it’s really gonna tie up the court system to go, you know,” said driver Palemon Ornelas. “But at the same time, I get it though.”

“If it makes it easier then I’m all for it, but if it’s more difficult I would rather just pay it and get it over with,” said Crawford.

With this new law, if you don’t pay the fines and fees, your license won’t be suspended like it is now. Instead, the court could summon you or put a warrant out for your arrest.

The governor still needs to decide whether she will hear the bill during the legislative session in January.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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