A new program called Operation Toll Relief will give Miami-Dade County residents a chance to negotiate down fines from unpaid tolls.
The program is a partnership of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, the Florida Department of Transportation and the Miami-Dade court system.
"The program does not excuse toll violators," says Judge Sam Slom, the chief administrative judge over county court. "What the program seeks to do is to adjust the amount due for those violations to an amount which we perceive to be fair."
Slom says, in the past, failure to pay a $1 toll could eventually result in a $210 fine and a suspended license.
Under the new program, anyone with a pending fine can file a "motion for toll relief." Slom says the process is fairly similar to what a traffic ticket attorney might do on a client's behalf.
"But your average person who cannot afford to hire a traffic lawyer, who doesn’t know how to navigate the system -- in other words the people who need the help the most -- often get it the least,” Slom says. He adds that making penalties more reasonable will increase the likelihood of payment and hopefully reduce the number of unlicensed drivers on the road.
Slom says "it's not unusual" for a $210 fee to be dropped to around $25, though cases will vary based on driving and toll violation history. All motions must be filed by Sept. 25. Drivers can check for outstanding fines at miami-dadeclerk.com.