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  • Posted April 1, 2019

Online payment problems for traffic tickets forcing people to court in Santa Clara Co.

https://abc7news.com/society/online-payment-problems-for-traffic-tickets-forcing-people-to-court-in-santa-clara-co/5210999/

Online payment problems for traffic tickets forcing people to court in Santa Clara Co.

By Anser Hassan

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- David Ramirez should be in class, but instead, he spent the morning at the Santa Clara County Courthouse trying to pay a traffic ticket. 

He's making a payment in person because the court's online payment system is down. 

Benjamin Rada, a spokesperson for the court, says they are not commenting at this time. However, in an email to ABC7 News, they did acknowledge that the issue goes back to December 2018. 
 

Do you have to pay a #traffic fine in Santa Clara County? You may have been overcharged. What the problem is and what you have to do to pay. Tonight on @abc7news at 5PM.#whereyoulive#SantaClaraCounty #SouthBay #trafficticket #payments pic.twitter.com/wPm92K0ORL

— Anser Hassan (@AnserHassan) March 21, 2019

A memo* explaining the problem is posted at the courthouse. 

A glitch in the software is causing traffic fines to be miscalculated. Some people are being undercharged, while others are overcharged. The memo goes on to say that the issue only involves misdemeanors and infractions. 

"Now, you have to come in and pay your ticket because the phone lines and the online service aren't working. It's kind of alarming... that we live in such an expensive city... but they can't fix their court systems," says Ramirez. 

Ramirez says he tried to for two weeks to pay online, only to get a message that the "system is down for maintenance." 

Shane Collins had to take the day off of work to come to court and bring his 2-year-old son with him. He saved on childcare but lost a day's pay. 

"Boring, boring and kind of muggy, and a bunch of grumpy people." That's how Collins described the scene inside the courthouse. 

Despite the inconvenience, Collins says, he had no choice but to come down. 
 

People complaining of long lines to pay #traffic fines at the Santa Clara County  courthouse. They can't pay #online because of a #computer glitch that was charging some people the wrong fines. On @abc7newsbayarea at 6PM.#whereyoulive #southbay #SantaClaraCounty #trafficticketpic.twitter.com/7QDK9rNMUj

— Anser Hassan (@AnserHassan) March 22, 2019

"If you can't pay it online, if it goes over the due date, then it doubles, or you can lose you license," says Collins. "So, yeah, a real inconvenience." 

Vince Trac, who lives in San Jose, also had to take a time off of work, to pay his wife's traffic ticket. He first tried to pay online. Next, he tried calling the court. Neither attempts worked. 

His frustration is dealing with a court in Silicon Valley is that is struggling to resolve tech issues. 

"I understand when they say, 'Hey, we are short staff,' or a government furlough, or what not. But the website is automatic. It should work! It's not difficult," he says. 

In an email to ABC7 News, Tyler Technologies, the software company that runs the payment platform, says: "We are aware that the Superior Court of Santa Clara County has reported an issue with miscalculation of fines. We are working closely with the Court to resolve any issues related to our solution. Anywhere our assistance has been enlisted, we have delivered all requested fixes. Tyler is fully committed to the success of our implementations at the California state bar, the courts in all 24 counties we serve in California, and the courts in the more than 1,000 counties we serve across the U.S." 

There is no estimate as when the problem will be fixed. 

When asked if they will grant extensions for payment, Rada says, "We are treating each case on an individual basis and working to resolve issues as they come up." 

*Read full courthouse memo: 

Traffic Court Fee Notification 
 

The Superior Court is actively working to resolve a discrepancy with fee notifications in traffic court cases 

SAN JOSÉ, California (March 12, 2019): The Santa Clara Superior Court has recently become aware of an inconsistency between the fees indicated on the website and traffic court courtesy notices and the actual fees owed to the Superior Court based on the charges on the citation. Unfortunately, in some cases the amount of fees indicated on these notices either under or overestimates the actual amount of fines and fees that are owed to the Court. The issue only involves misdemeanors and infractions. 

For example: A courtesy notice sent out for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle may understate the actual amount owed while notices for driving without a license may overestimate the actual amount due to the Court. 

We have temporarily halted online payments until this problem is corrected. Until further notice, all payments must be made at the clerk's office of the Traffic Court located at 1095 Homestead Road, Santa Clara, CA 95050. 

Additionally, if you have received a courtesy notice or made a payment between approximately 12/15/18 and the present you may contact the court at courtesy@scscourt.org to determine the status of your case. If there has been an overpayment charged and/or made, it will be corrected. If the amount charged was underestimated, the court will accept the lower amount and correct the record, if necessary, to reflect that it has been paid in full. 

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused. Please know we are actively working to remedy the situation.