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Sign Up for New Seattle Ticket Debt Reduction Hearings

Seattle Municipal Court now offers ticket debt reduction hearings for people who can’t afford to pay their debt from Seattle parking, traffic, or camera tickets. You are eligible if you are:

  • Low income
  • Have debt from parking, traffic, or camera infraction tickets in Seattle Municipal Court that you can’t afford to pay
  • Have tickets that are past their due date*

The hearings are an opportunity for people to speak with a court magistrate to reduce their Seattle ticket debt and recall their tickets from collections. After the hearing, court staff help participants set up a monthly payment plan or other option to pay off any remaining debt.

Results so far

In the first ten weeks of hearings, magistrates heard cases from 24 people. By participating in the hearing and having a chance to explain their circumstances to a magistrate, this group of 24 had their collective debt substantially reduced. Please note that magistrates reduce debt on a case-by-case basis, so there is no guarantee of how much or whether debt will be reduced.

71% of participants reported that they were seeking debt reduction in order to renew their vehicle tabs. 26% of participants reported that they are unhoused or experiencing housing instability. 

Why ticket debt reduction?

Court fines and fees can be an excessive burden for many in our community, with the harms disproportionately impacting people of color and people with little income or wealth.

Before this program, the court would remove tickets from collections and reduce fines for vehicle residents, people with low income, and people with expired tab violations on an ad hoc basis. There was no hearing opportunity to have court debt holistically reviewed and reduced. This new program, launched in February 2022, fills a gap for people experiencing the consequences of unpaid ticket debt.

How to sign up

Hearings are held by phone every Thursday from 11 AM-1 PM. Participants can register online or by calling (206) 684-8747 during business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM- 4 PM).

Learn more and sign up for a hearing on the Seattle Municipal Court website.

*Tickets issued during the pandemic (March 2020-present) have not been charged late fees and are eligible for a regular court hearing. Please request a mitigation or contested hearing instead of a Debt Reduction hearing.