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‘Operation Green Light’ to waive ticket fee penalties

By Staff | Apr 3, 2015

The public has a chance to pay delinquent traffic tickets, court fines and fees in full – without a collection surcharge – and reinstate their affected driver’s license.

The Lee County Clerk of Court will host Operation Green Light on April 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lee County Justice Center. Full payments will only be accepted in person at the Clerk’s Office.

“It’s a very unique one-time-only opportunity,” Rita Miller, community relations manager for the Lee County Clerk of Court, said. “It’s not going to be repeated.”

She explained that after 90 days, overdue traffic tickets, court fines and fees are sent to a collection agency. The collection agency tacks on a 25 percent surcharge in its attempt to collect the funds.

For example, a woman who recently called asking about her case owed more than $1,000 in fines and fees. By paying during Operation Green Light, she would save the approximately $200 surcharge.

“And get her driver’s license restored,” Miller said.

Delinquent tickets, fines and fees sent to a collection agency can result in a suspended license.

“We know that there are thousands of people with overdue traffic tickets, and they’re driving with a suspended license,” she said.

In Lee County, nearly 31,000 parties currently have their driver’s license suspended due to their case being in collections – that totals an estimated $11 million owed in tickets, fines and fees.

“And that’s just Lee County,” Miller said.

For Operation Green Light, the Lee County Clerk of Court has partnered with the Lee County Tax Collector and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

“We will restore these drivers’ licenses on premise once they pay their fee,” she said.

Miller noted that not all delinquent cases result in the suspension of a license.

“They can save money and get back on the road legally,” she said.

Those taking advantage of Operation Green Light should bring ID and any case information.

“Just bring money and we’ll figure it out,” Miller said.

Cash, personal and cashier’s checks, money orders and major credit cards will be accepted as forms of payment. Customers paying with a major credit card will be charged a 3.5 percent convenience fee.

This one-day opportunity is not an option for those paying online or by telephone.

According to Miller, Palm Beach County conducted a pilot program in November that was similar to Operation Green Light, and it was successful. Two other counties conducted similar programs.

Sixty-two of Florida’s 67 counties will take part in Operation Green Light.

“It’s a statewide effort and Lee County is, of course, very happy to participate in this,” she said.

For more information, contact (239) 533-5000 or Info_Operationgreenlight@leeclerk.org.

The Lee County Justice Center is at 2075 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fort Myers.