Vermont amnesty will allow ticket scofflaws to get driver's license returned

In some Vermont counties, it may pay to be delinquent on your driving tickets.

Drivers in five Vermont counties who have lost their licenses because they couldn't pay traffic fines are going to be given the opportunity to get their driving privileges back.

Under the pilot program, these drivers -- on March 20 -- will be able to pay $20 for every ticket that is overdue by more than 75 days, reported.

"This is not a gift," Chittenden County Prosecutor T.J. Donovan  told "This is in the interest of all Vermonters because while they are on our roadways, we know they're driving illegally, but they're also driving without insurance."

Gov. Peter Shumlin and Donovan announced the program on Tuesday that will allow people who can't pay fines to negotiate lower payments.

"The idea is we have over 20,000 Vermonters who have suspended licenses and many of them are suspended because they can't afford to pay the mounting fines,"  Shumlin said.

Shumlin says no one is served by a system where Vermonters who cannot afford to pay traffic tickets are faced with the decision of breaking the law to drive to work.

The residents of Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, and Washington counties with delinquent traffic tickets will be able to meet at the Costello Courthouse in Burlington with officials and negotiate a lower payment.

When asked by a reporter from about how much money the state may lose in the program, Donovan said, "We're not collecting the money. Getting something is better than getting nothing. That's just the bottom line here and the incentive is to stop living in the shadows. It's a pilot. Let's try it. If it fails, it's on me."

The Associated Press contributed to this report