Las Vegas, Nevada 2021-06-10 00:34:00 –
Las Vegas (FOX5)-A major change is taking place in Nevada’s criminal justice system. Most traffic tickets are no longer considered criminal offenses and people are no longer in jail for unpaid tickets.
Governor Steve Sisolak signed Senate Bill 219 and Parliamentary Bill 116 on Tuesday afternoon. The law will end Nevada’s practice of issuing bench warrants and suspending driver’s licenses when people cannot afford to pay a minor traffic ticket.
“I’m excited about our community … now I can breathe a little, actually a lot,” said Akiko Cooks. She has been promoting the decriminalization of Nevada traffic tickets for years through the Mass Liberation Project and the initiative of the Free Negro Mamas.
Fines and Fees According to the Judiciary Center, when the court was closed in March last year due to a pandemic, the Las Vegas Court of Justice alone had more than 250,000 traffic warrants unresolved.
Cook sometimes shared that the woman she helps was in jail for a traffic ticket with a low bail of $ 50, and just can’t afford to pay.
“There are a lot of shocks and traumas that can happen just by being in jail for two to three hours,” Cook said.
Cook organized a “Black Mama Bale Out” fundraising campaign last month in a prison in the Las Vegas area to pay women’s bail. Almost all women who were paid bail were imprisoned in prison because their traffic tickets were turned into warrants.
“We rescued 24 and only one was non-traffic,” Cooks said.
Decriminalizing minor traffic violations does not mean that the fines are gone, but instead goes to collection.
Part of the law will come into effect on July 1, 2021, and the rest will come into effect by January 1, 2023.