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Have traffic tickets? New SC program will take money from tax refund

money owed in traffic tickets

South Carolina is looking to recoup money owed in traffic tickets by taking it out of tax returns. (January 27, 2011 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, January 27, 2010

AIKEN CTY, S.C--- A new state program in South Carolina is making sure the state gets the money from those who haven't paid their traffic tickets. Starting this year, the money is going to come from your income tax returns for those who don't pay up. The program is called "Set Off Debt." There's mixed reaction from those who know about it, but there's still many who may get less of a refund than they expect.

The Sheriff's Office says there are people who owe anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars in traffic fees.

"I don't think it should be taken from (tax returns)," said John Jordan.

With the economy the way it is, he says he doesn't think it's fair. But he also says people need to be responsible.

"People try to get away with stuff...that's why we have laws."

John understands the seriousness of getting tickets. While he's only gotten one, he paid it right away. When his daughter got one, he took care of that too.

"I demanded that she pay them, and she paid them right away."

The program will take your money if there's an outstanding contempt warrant out for you, which means if you failed to show up for your court date or failed to pay, according to a payment plan set up for you, then you're on the list.

Corporal Larry Schrade of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office told News 12, "We have the possibility just with the traffic court in Aiken County of recouping several hundreds of thousands of dollars."

The Sheriff's Office says being on the Outstanding Warrant List means you risk not only being arrested, but there's a chance you won't get your fine reduced. John made sure that didn't happen with his daughter. He says it was "because she was driving my car and my car doesn't carry tickets." But if your car does carry tickets, deputies say to check your mail, because if you've been notified about a warrant, you're also on the list to get a reduced income tax check.

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