It’s a money deal, but I get it now.
Senate Bill 346 was passed last session and it seemed as clear as mud at the time. But after attending the City of Houston legislative update, I can see what we can expect. The good news is the Omni DPS fees have been reduced from $ 30.00 to $ 10.00 a case. This is not retroactive but applies to cases after January 1, 2020. Also, the pesky dine cost added to each court costs are not gone. The fees have been rounded down. The bad news is that court cost has gone up. Rules of the road state offenses have been increased by $ 30.00. Whereas, equipment violations and non-moving violations were increase only $ 10.00.
Therefore, defensive driving previously costs $ 109.00 is now $ 149.00. In those courts with a standard $ 150.00 deferred for moving violations it’s now $ 180.00. Courts with $ 225.00 are now at $ 255.00. These costs are passed on to the clients and will be a problem for us to explain our services.
Also, it’s a big deal now that the court must have a hearing to determine the defendant’s ability to pay any fine and costs. These hearings are available to defendants to determine undue hardship for payment. Fines may be discharged at these hearing which is another new tool to aid us helping those clients with numerous city code violations.