Starting next month, Tennesseans guilty of traffic violations could pay higher fees.
In an effort to offset reductions made to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's crime lab budget, the General Assembly passed a measure that will require municipalities, starting July 1, to collect an additional $13.75 fee per traffic violation fine if those fines are paid prior to the court date or compliance date.
Those who plead not guilty and go to court, or miss the compliance date, will not face the additional fees.
It’s important to note, according to Circuit Court Clerk Richard Rooker, that the new fees are tacked on per traffic violation — i.e. speeding, registration, license violations etc. — and not per citation. A motorist can incur up to five violations on one citation, which would rack up $68.75 in additional fees alone.
Rooker’s office will be required to collect the fees in Davidson County. He said fee monies collected would be remitted to the state treasury and then passed on to the TBI.
Kristin Helm, spokeswoman for the TBI, said revenue generated by the new fees would help offset a $2.3 million reduction in the bureau’s 2011-2012 fiscal budget.
Last year, the legislature enacted a law that doubled fees from $100 to $200 per piece of evidence submitted to the TBI crime lab — DUI blood tests, for example — the costs of which are passed down to defendants through the law enforcement agencies that submit them. Those fees also went to offset TBI crime lab budget reductions.