Hundreds partake in Operation Green Light

Operation Green Light allows people to avoid paying collection charges

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was a chance to pay hundreds even thousands of dollars less for overdue traffic tickets and other fees.

About 1,200 people came out Saturday for Operation Green Light, the one day when Clerk of Courts offices in Florida waive their collection agency surcharge which can sometimes add 40 percent.

Shalondra Steward was one of the people who spent hours at the Duval County courthouse.

She walked out with a smile, because her license is reinstated, and she was able to pay off her tickets at a fraction of the cost.

"It was traffic tickets, unpaid seat belt tickets, car seat tickets, driving with suspended license," Stewart said.

As a part of Operation Green Light, Steward paid $2,500 instead of $4,200 to settle tickets, and got her license reinstated.

"This is like a relief. You just don't understand because I can't drive without a driver's license and I was told if I was to drive again I would spend 5 years in jail if I got caught," Stewart said.

She was just one of many who lined up outside and inside the courthouse.
Four hundred people showed up in just the first two hours, including Quincy Bostic, who says he hasn't had his license in at least 10 years.

"My tickets came up to $3,500 it dropped down to $1,700 so that was a major blessing it gave me a chance to get back at getting my license and doing the right thing," Bostic said.

Operation Green Light gave people with overdue traffic tickets as well as court costs and fees a chance to pay them without being charged the 40 percent collection agency surcharge.
But, you had to pay in person, and you had to pay in full.

"Any extra money that you can save right now is good because all that extra money goes toward bills and if you don't got it you don't got it," Jeremy Batts said.

Duval County was just one of 63 Clerk of Court offices is across the state of Florida taking part in the event.

Organizers say they know there are thousands of people in northeast Florida who have overdue traffic tickets and are driving with suspended licenses.
This they say is about helping those people drive legally again.

Derek Igou with the Duval County Clerk of Courts office says this is the first year of the event, one he calls a great opportunity because it may not happen every year.

"If you did that that would deinsentivize people. They would just wait until once a year to pay their fines and fees. We certainly don't want to do that. But there are times when we like to help people reset or restart," Igou said.

Igou said 1,020 licenses were reinstated and about 2,300 cases were handled. The court served more 1,200 people and collected $515,000 in overdue fines.

Whether Operation Green Light makes a return or not, these people say they're thankful.

Igou said they were very pleased with the turnout and that organizers were well-prepared for the huge crowd.