The price of traffic tickets just went up in DeKalb

Traffic tickets in DeKalb County are getting more expensive through the addition of a $25 fee on each citation.

Drivers who received speeding tickets and other citations didn't have to pay the automatic $25 court costs fee since Recorders Court stopped doing business last July. The Georgia General Assembly discontinued the court last year amid allegations that it lacked legal authority over traffic offenses, improperly jailed people who couldn't afford probation plans and gouged residents with high fines.

The fee was inadvertently eliminated when traffic cases moved to DeKalb State Court, which wasn’t authorized to collect it.

But state lawmakers reinstated the fee in DeKalb State Court during this year's legislative session. House Bill 1116 unanimously passed the state House and Senate, and Gov. Nathan Deal signed it into law April 28.

With roughly 120,000 traffic citations issued a year, the $25 per ticket fee could bring in $3 million annually for DeKalb’s government.

The temporarily elimination of the fee accounted for a large part of $7 million that the county government had projected in December it would lose from the transition from Recorders Court to DeKalb State Court.

Though the $25 fee has returned, other money-saving reforms instituted by DeKalb State Court will remain.

The court also lowered fines for many citations, required lower bond amounts and ended a $75 fee in every case in which a bench warrant was issued.