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Phoenix looking to expand remote court options for traffic tickets

The pandemic led Phoenix’s Municipal Court to offer a virtual option for people contesting traffic tickets. And the program is reportedly working so well, the court is looking to expand it.

Up until four months ago, if you got a traffic ticket in Phoenix and wanted to fight it, you had to show up at municipal court downtown. For most people that meant missing work, arranging childcare and driving many miles from home. Now people can choose to attend remotely using a computer or smartphone.

Judge Alisha Villa says feedback has been positive. Not only do residents think it’s more convenient, but so do police.

“Officers have also stated that appearing by video is convenient and allows them to return to duty sooner because they are not actually coming down to the court to actually testify,” she told the city’s public safety subcommittee Wednesday.

The police department has set up equipment at different precincts so officers can participate in remote hearings from their precincts rather than travel downtown.

Villa said fewer people coming to the court building also reduces security risks and COVID-19 exposures for staff.  If the pilot program continues to do well, the court plans to add more civil traffic cases, like parking tickets, in the first quarter of 2022.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.