What will happen if I don’t pay my traffic ticket? This is a question that you are probably asking yourself right now. Getting a traffic ticket is the last thing that any motorist would want. However, we are bound to make mistakes, and sometimes you might find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
If you happen to get a traffic ticket, then the worst thing that you can do is ignoring the ticket, hoping that with time, things will calm down, and nothing will happen. Doing so will make what would have been a simple traffic offense to become a significant thing that could potentially make you lose your license and, even worse, have you arrested and jail.
What is a traffic ticket?
A traffic ticket is an official notice issued to a driver by a law enforcement official that indicates that the person has violated the traffic law. A traffic ticket can be issued for an offense that was committed while the vehicle was packed or when it was in motion. Most traffic tickets are civil infractions meaning that they are minor violations of the law, thus punished by fines.
Types of traffic tickets
Traffic tickets generally come in two forms. They include moving violations and non-moving violations. Moving violations are serious and often attract larger fines. If the driver commits multiple traffic violations, then his/her driving license can be revoked.
Moving violations include things like:
- running a red light
- driving with a suspended license
- reckless driving
Examples of non-moving violations include:
- parking in restricted areas
- expired parking meters
- expired tabs
Consequences of a traffic ticket
The consequences of a traffic ticket differ depending on the nature and severity of the violation. Some traffic tickets from small offenses such as expired parking meter may only require you pay a small fine which you can mail to the city office. On the other hand, other serious traffic violations such as driving under the influence can attract a hefty fine, have your license revoked, or even get you arrested and jailed for years. If you have committed a serious traffic offense such as driving under the influence, then it is wise to talk to a traffic violation attorney. An attorney underhand the law and can contest the penalty or negotiate for a lesser punishment.
What is the difference between a traffic ticket and a parking ticket?
The main difference between a parking ticket and a traffic ticket is that in a parking ticket, the offense is not recorded on your driving record. Additionally, parking tickets often attracts lower fines and possibly, no jail time. However, some traffic violations can attract hefty fines and jail time.
What happens if you don’t pay your traffic ticket on time?
If you have just been given a traffic ticket, it is essential to pay for it as soon as possible. Some drivers who keep the ticket for long often forget about it, and those who refuse to pay intentionally often land in big trouble. In the section, we are going to discuss some of the things that could happen if you don’t pay your ticket on time.
1. You will pay higher fines
Most states give traffic violators up to 90 days to pay the amount charged for the traffic offense or have their fines increased. In the court’s opinion, 90 days is sufficient time for a person to decide the action to take, and once the grace period expires, the court will add a civil assessment (which costs $300) to what you already owe. If you fail to pay the civil assessment fee plus the original fine within the added grace period, then the court will refer your case to the collection, who will then take more drastic measures.
2. Your driver’s license may be suspended
You also risk having your driver’s license suspended if you don’t pay your traffic ticket on time. Having your driver’s license suspended will only add insult to injury. If you did not pay for the ticket because of financial difficulties, then if your driver’s license is revoked, you will have to pay more to have it reinstated. So, you will only make a bad situation worse.
3. You may have problems with car registration renewal
In addition to having your driver’s license suspended, failing to pay your ticket on time could also make it difficult to have your car registration renewed. This means that you cannot drive your car until you pay the traffic ticket and hefty fine that it has attracted.
4. Misdemeanor charges
In some states, if you consistently default on paying a traffic ticket, then it may lead to misdemeanor charges. If that happens, then the court will summon you, and if you fail to appear, it will charge you will fail to appear. In addition to a misdemeanor, the court may also charge you with breach for failure to pay traffic ticket on time as required by the law.
5. Warrant of arrest
After the court has exhausted all options, but you still fail to comply, then the last resort that the court will issue a warrant of arrest. This rarely happens, but if you had committed a serious traffic offense like over speeding or driving under the influence or if you failed to honor court summons, then the court may issue an arrest warrant. Your chances of getting arrested will also increase if you have several points on your driving record or if you have an outstanding criminal case. If this happens, then you need to contact an attorney right away.
Other consequences of not paying your traffic ticket on time include increased car insurance premiums and having your car towed.
In conclusion, if you have been given a traffic ticket, then ensure that you don’t miss the deadline for paying the ticket. Failure to pay on time will only make this worse, as discussed below. If need more assistance or need to fight traffic tickets, always call for the best traffic ticket lawyer in your area. Don’t wait for things to get worse to act. Prevention is better than cure. Pay your traffic ticket on time to avoid landing in trouble with the authorities.