Road Law – November 2020

Pay now or pay more later

November 2020

Jeff McConnell and James Mennella

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We normally deal with the ramifications of moving traffic violations and offenses under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for our clients. We recently received a question from an OOIDA member in reference to parking tickets and the ability of the authorities to enforce unpaid tickets.

Q. I received a parking ticket on a delivery to a restaurant. I don’t live in the state where the ticket was issued. They don’t know my driver’s license number, and I have ignored all of the certified mail they send to me regarding the matter. Can they do anything to me if I continue to ignore them?

A. We would not advise that you ignore any ticket, and you run the risk of causing yourself greater harm in the long run if you don’t clean up the matter. Under the circumstances, let’s discuss the pitfalls of your current situation.

First, the authority that issued the ticket has your license plate information and was also able to determine who the owner of the vehicle is, since you have been receiving mail regarding the outstanding ticket. It’s not a great stretch to believe that they can’t learn or don’t already know your driver’s license number. While many states are changing their rules about suspending a driver’s license because of unpaid parking tickets, many still do it. If this happens, then you will have to not only pay the ticket but also a reinstatement fee to reinstate your suspended license.

Further, if the license is suspended because of nonpayment, the word “suspended” also will show on your motor vehicle record and could cause employment and insurance issues down the road.

Second, depending on the jurisdiction and if you continue to deliver to this area, it is possible that if your vehicle is located it could be impounded and towed for the outstanding ticket or it could be “booted” if the jurisdiction utilizes the technology. Regardless, the inconvenience and costs associated with getting the vehicle back will be substantial compared to the original fine for the ticket.

Last, even though you reside in another state, the outstanding amount owed can be sent to a collection agency or an attorney in your state. If the matter goes to collection, you can be sued for the amount owed, plus attorney fees, costs, late fees and interest. If you ignore the collection agency and any pending lawsuit, you run the risk of a judgment being entered against you. Once a judgment is entered, you run the risk of a levy against your bank account or any other assets that can be attached by the creditor to try and collect the total amount due without further notice. LL

Send any questions or comments regarding transportation law to: Jeff McConnell and James Mennella, Road Law, 3441 W. Memorial, Suite 4, Oklahoma City, OK 73134; call 405-242-2030, fax 888-588-8983, or contact them via RoadLaw.net.

This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Land Line Magazine or its publisher. Please remember everyone’s legal situation is different. Consult with an attorney for specific advice on your situation.

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