can't afford to pay

If you are unable to pay your traffic ticket or fine, you have the right to ask the Court to consider your financial circumstances. Please be sure to follow all instructions on your ticket and any notices sent to you, including payment deadlines, to avoid late fee penalties. 

Visit the When You're in Court page to learn more about appearing in court and resolving your ticket.

For your convenience, the court offers an online and paper process to determine your ability to pay.  Please see the grid below and choose the right process:

Online Ability to Pay Leniency Request with Traffic School Paper Ability to Pay
Works for Adjudicated / Unadjudicated cases* Works for Unadjudicated cases Works for Adjudicated cases (fine imposed by court)
Upload picture of supporting documents Requires a plea of No Contest or Guilty Attach physical copies of supporting documents
Does not address Traffic School Traffic School is addressed Does not address Traffic School
Does not address fix-it tickets Does not address fix-it tickets Does not address fix-it tickets
Decision within 30 days Decision within 4-6 weeks Decision within 4-6 weeks

*If your case does not contain a Driver’s License or ID number, please call the clerk (415) 551-8540 to update the record so it can be presented through the online tool.

Who is eligible for discounts:
Are you low-income? People who fit into one or both of the categories below can have their traffic fines and fees reduced by 80 percent or more: 

  • People who have household incomes below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Line. Review the Federal Poverty Line guidelines to find out if your household income is within these guidelines.
  • People who receive means tested public benefits such as: Medi-Cal; CALFresh (Food Stamps); CalWORKS or Tribal TANF; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); General Assistance (GA) or County Adult Assistance Program (CAAP); In Home Supportive Services (IHSS); or Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI).
Are you experiencing homelessness? People experiencing homelessness may be able to clear certain citations if they receive 20 hours or more of social services assistance. Learn more about the San Francisco District Attorney's Office CONNECT program. Read the FAQs for this program to see if this option will work for you. If you would like to apply, print out the CONNECT form and follow the instructions. 
Citations referred to Alliance One: The Court has entered into an agreement with Alliance One to collect unpaid fines and civil assessments. If your citation has been referred to Alliance One and you can’t afford the outstanding balance, you still have the right to ask the Court to consider your financial circumstances as described above. You can also arrange for a payment plan with Alliance One for as low as $25 per month. To learn more about the status of your outstanding balance with Alliance One, call 1 (877) 541-8420. Be sure to have these items ready when you call: Name, Driver’s License Number, Citation Number.
License holds for failure to appear: If a hold has been placed on your license because you failed to appear in court for your citation, the Court will notify the Department of Motor Vehicles to lift the hold once the Court makes a decision regarding your ability to pay form. You do not need to pay off your entire balance to get a failure to appear license hold lifted, even if your citation has been referred to Alliance One.
Help Filling Out the Application:
There are several community organizations that can help you complete the application process.  They include:
If you are a San Francisco Human Services Agency aid recipient on either CALWORKS, Personal Assisted Employment Services (PAES), or Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) or MEDI-CAL programs, please talk to your case worker about a possible referral to Bay Area Legal Aid for free legal assistance.
Address: 468 Turk Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Drop-in Clinics: Wednesdays at 10:00AM - 12:00PM
Address: 1950 University Avenue, Suite 200, Berkeley, CA 94704
For referrals or to schedule an appointment, call (510) 548-4040
Or drop in during our open hours on Wednesdays 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Address: 330 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Hours: Mondays and Thursdays 2:00PM - 5:00PM
GLIDE (ask for the legal clinic at the front desk)
Address: 1254 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 863-3762