It happens to all of us–you thought that the sign read “no
parking after 8”, only to realize later that the sign was smudged
and actually said 6. Or maybe you thought that you wouldn’t be gone
for more than the 15 minutes of free parking, but actually took over an
hour. Either way, you’ve somehow ended up with a parking ticket.
It seems pretty inconsequential–a small piece of paper informing
you that you must pay. What if you pretend you’ve never seen it?
Can you claim that the wind blew it away? It can be tempting to disregard
the tiny notice. So what are the actual consequences of doing so?
Fines. You already owe the city government $100. Do you really want that number
to go up? As you miss payment deadlines and the city has to do work to
find you, you will end up paying more in late fees and collection fees.
That pesky first ticket may end up becoming a huge burden if you do not
pay it on time.
Bench Warrant. Unless you want to be running from the law, it may be time to pay up. If
you wait long enough, the city may have a judge issue a bench warrant
for your arrest. They want you to appear in court to pay any balances
you owe, except they won’t ask politely. The next time you have
a run-in with the law, whether it be for an accident or a simple traffic
violation, you may be escorted to the station in a squad car.
Booting and Towing. The cost of your ticket will be substantially less than what you will pay
to get your car back once it is booted or towed. If your car is impounded
by the police after being towed, they do have the right to search it without
a warrant, which could potentially lead to even more trouble.
License Suspension. If you have your traffic ticket sitting in your glove compartment for too
long, the state of Texas reserves the right to revoke your license until
you pay up, or even indefinitely. Driving with a suspended license is
also a crime of its own, and may lead to a long-term suspension of your
license. The hassle of not being able to drive for years should be enough
to convince you to pay your fine.
Increased Car Premiums. If you let your parking ticket sit too long, your insurance company may
no longer believe you are the safe driver they think you are. Your risk
will increase, alongside your premium. While non-moving violations will
not trigger an increase in premiums (such as the original parking ticket),
the associated risk of an arrest warrant and license suspension is enough
for them to worry about the failure to pay for a parking violation.
So, if you ever do receive a parking ticket and are feeling gutsy enough
to not pay it, remember the potential consequences. Despite several rumors,
police officers and the courts do not “forget” tickets if
they sit too long, and will eventually find a way to receive their fees.
It is best to deal with the situation as quickly as possible to avoid
things getting out of hand. If you have further questions about a parking
violation, or want to know if you can fight your ticket, call our law