By on January 22, 2018

It’s a constant theme of my life, one that I keep expecting to “outgrow,” yet I never seem to do so: I let things grow from molehills into mountains by failing to take care of them properly at the onset. For example, I won myself an extra $1,800 in fines this year by paying the Commonwealth of Kentucky their pound of tax flesh a few months late. Ouch.

And when I got my first speeding ticket in quite some time (well, at least a year) in Georgia last February on my way to the American Endurance Racing race in Road Atlanta—and then another about a month later in Fayette County, Kentucky — I just kinda forgot to pay them. They were both relatively small tickets — one for 10 over and another for 15 over. It’s not like I didn’t have the money, or like I haven’t had dozens of free hours since then to log on to the Gwinnett County website and pay my out-of-state infraction or stop by the local courthouse. Nope, it wasn’t until I got a nastygram from the Kentucky DMV letting me know that my license had been suspended that I realized I had let it go for too long this time.

No problem, I thought. I’ll pay my fines online and go get my license reinstated.

Yeah, that’s not how it works.

The first step in my journey was finding my copies of the citations, which, surprisingly, wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be. They were both in the glovebox of my Focus RS, although they were both kinda old and wrinkly. No matter, the print was still (mostly) legible on the thermal paper. Great — problem number one was solved.

Next, I decided to pay my Georgia ticket on the Gwinnett County website, which was far more efficient than any government website has the right to be. The original ticket was $145 — $20 for the ticket, and $125 for court costs. Since I didn’t go to court, I’m not sure why I have to pay those, but the Man says I do. Fine.

Oops. Turns out that there’s been a small, um, warrant out for my arrest. The “bench warrant fee” was $100, so my ticket was now $258 including all the fees. Good job, Bark. Regardless, I paid the fine and printed out my receipt, which I figured would be sufficient proof for the Kentucky DMV.

Next up, the Fayette County website to pay my Kentucky ticket. Whomp whomp. Turns out that I can’t pay a past due fine online — I actually have to go to the courthouse, which begs the question: how am I supposed to drive to the courthouse, which is roughly 30 miles from my house, with a suspended license? I mean, yes, I’ve obviously been driving for a little while with a suspended license, but now I know I’m doing it. Plus, maybe they have cops just sitting around outside the traffic court clerk’s office, waiting to pull over people for doing one MPH over the limit, and then tossing them in jail for driving under suspension?

So now I’m freaking out a little bit, but I decide to risk it and drive my neon blue jellybean as lawfully and inconspicuously as I can down to the courthouse. Thankfully, there are no vicious policemen in Tauruses waiting to arrest me as I arrive. I walk up to the traffic clerk counter, with my credit card in hand, cringing in anticipation of what my original $163 ticket (again, $20 for the ticket, $143 in court costs) has ballooned into. The lady behind the counter, who is personifying every stereotype of a government worker, takes my ticket from my hand, looks at me, and says, “I’m gonna have to go get this one.”

She gets up from the counter, and walks away without another word. Fifteen minutes later she comes back with an actual folder with my original ticket in it. Like, the paper copy. I don’t understand — is this not digitized in some way? Apparently not in Fayette County, Kentucky. However, I’m rewarded for my wait by the news that there are no additional fines or fees! All I owe is the $163 ticket. Fantastic.

Now, she says, since I live in Clark County, and not Fayette County, I have to go back to the DMV in Clark County to renew my license. Not a huge deal, since I live about 2 miles from the office. So, I take all of my paperwork, go back to my car, and realize that despite paying both of my tickets, my license is still suspended, and now there are about 50 police cars circling the courthouse. Just be cool, Bark. Just be cool.

Thirty minutes later, I’m at the Clark County Clerk’s office, ready to pay my reinstatement fee and pose for a new photo that makes me look slightly less like a member of The Mossad than my last one did. But as the Jungle Brothers once said, hold up, wait a minute — the sign on the counter lets me know that only checks are accepted for payment in Clark County. I am unable to remember not only where my checkbook might be, but the last time I even wrote a check.

Back home I go. Luckily, it only takes about 20 minutes of digging through various junk drawers in the house to find a little pad of checks. Still painfully aware of my suspended license, I roll past three, count em, three unmarked police cars on my way back to the office.

Finally, I have my license. Nah, JK. Turns out that neither Georgia nor Fayette County are reporting that I’ve paid my ticket, so I have to call the state’s DMV in Frankfort, KY, and provide them with proof. Once more, I am leaving a government office with no DL.

When I get home, I call Frankfort and get transferred three times — and then I wait on hold for 30 minutes. Finally, a charming young lady named Alexis lets me know that the receipts that I have in my hand are no good. I have to wait for the system to be updated, which could take “several days.” Also, she says, I have to call Georgia and ask them to fax proof of my payment, since the Kentucky system won’t show that.

Fine. I call the Gwinnett County courthouse, but that number has been disconnected. I now have to call a nationwide, 1-800 ticket payment number. Of course, since I’ve already paid my ticket, they aren’t able to help me, but they do have a number to the Gwinnett County Recorder’s office. Okay. So I call that number, get transferred twice, and am finally told that, no, they can’t help me, I have to speak to somebody in the prosecutor’s office. So I call that number, and after being transferred three times, I am only able to leave a recording on a supervisor’s voicemail. She promises to return my call if I leave my citation number, my name, my social security number, and my date of birth. That all seems completely fine to leave on a voicemail — what could go wrong?

So here I sit, still with no license, waiting on the mercy of a government official who lives about 600 miles away, hoping she’ll call me back. This, despite having receipts for both payments I’ve made in my hand, neither of which seem to matter very much to the fine folks in the capital of the Bluegrass.

Moral of the story: Pay your damn tickets. Better yet, don’t get them in the first place. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to make a few dozen phone calls.

[Image: Mark “Bark M.” Baruth/TTAC]

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109 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: Pay Your Tickets on Time...”


  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    For 2015 I owed $4800 in fines/interest to the IRS. But I wrote them a really nice letter, begging for forgiveness and pleading dumb and too busy to keep up with things. It was reduced to $1500. Even bureaucrats can have a heart sometimes.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Nice to hear. I suspect its a bit like principal vs interest, their “fines and interest” are in reality made up by them and therefore a reduction is probably easier on their end than say taxes themselves (i.e. “principal”).

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The penalties and interest are not “made up by the IRS,” they’re set out in (variously) either laws passed by Congress or rules adopted by Treasury through a formal rulemaking process. But those same laws and rules give the IRS discretion to forgive penalties and interest, while the IRS often has no discretion to forgive tax obligations.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’m referring to the concept of “found money”, evidently be it in statute or policy someone has the ability to adjust fees and penalties as need be. My reasoning is this person/department is not “giving a break” on lawful taxes but rather is ultimately “juice” on said taxes. If any part of a fee or penalty is collected ultimately it is a bonus amount on lawful taxes, they are still ahead at $1500 and someone simply choose to grant some forgiveness on the rest because of a positive communication. I applaud this, but the fact is they still want their $1500 in addition to the lawful taxes and because the $1500 is ultimately “found money” they could afford to reduce it from $4500.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The IRS is a huge beast with many different parts. Some parts have very different attitudes from others. The part I usually work with in my practice is very forgiving if you approach them with the attitude “I know I screwed up, and it won’t happen again because I’ve made A, B, and C changes.” Other parts like to throw the book. For example, if you’re an employer, don’t *ever* be late on employment tax withholding and returns.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Employers are “supposed to know better”, so zero leniency.

        I’m led to believe in general, if there’s no evidence or reason to believe deliberate flaunting (rather than incompetence, mistake, or normal foibles), they’re usually happy to take individual returns with minimal penalties or interest.

        (“They want the money more than to punish you”, if you’re not obviously trying to cheat them.)

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        Our CPA impressed this on my new business partners and me in 1977. When you don’t pay withholding taxes, you are stealing from the your employees as well as from Uncle Sam. As true today as then. Doubleplus ungood.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          You’re referring to FICA? If so, I wish your CPA in 1977 could see a chart from this timeframe.

          http://www.justfacts.com/nationaldebt.asp

          “We can guarantee cash benefits as far out as and in whatever size you like, but we cannot guarantee their purchasing power” – Greenspan

          youtube.com/watch?v=HxSLtC62RG0

      • 0 avatar
        Bill Wade

        I think the IRS looks at your track record as an employer. The very few times I was late they were quite accommodating.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I went through that song and dance with the IRS as well. Their agents are ready and willing to negotiate as they know that they’re much more likely to get something rather than nothing if they reduce the amount. Most of it ends up being ridiculous interest on some imaginary owing amount anyway.

      My dispute was over whether my daughter was a real person in 2011 and therefore able to the claimed as a dependent. Once that was settled several years later, they still tried to get me to pay the interest on the original owing amount which I never actually owed. Many hours on the phone eventually got it down to some pitiful amount where they still sent me another bill for the interest on that amount for the time it took for the check to mail and process. I didn’t pay that last 9 dollars or whatever it was.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        What made them think she wasn’t a real person?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          She could have turned back into a mannequin.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I was a Canadian working in the US at the time. The IRS doesn’t recognize an alien as a person until they have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number which requires a list of original documents MAILED to the IRS for processing and issuance of a number. Being an infant, she didn’t have all that documentation for quite a while, and what they really wanted was a passport. I didn’t want to spend the $100 for a passport for a kid that didn’t need one, plus we didn’t even have everything required for that. So when I stopped working in the US in 2012 I just forgot all about it. A few years later, the IRS tracked me down even after I had moved across the country so I figured I’d finally deal with it.

      • 0 avatar

        Tax court scares the irs agent. Trust me on this

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      some people write a nice letter to IRS stating that they disagree with how money being spent by gov and they never pay anything

    • 0 avatar

      Every town city or village is different. The efficiency ranges from fully online to fully 1950s. It is entirely normal for court people not to show great interest after you have ignored tickets The best approach is to always fight your ticket retain an attorney if you think it will help but in any event never ever just plead guilty or worse ignore the ticket

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Procrastination of this type and degree has a strong correlation with low IQ and mental illness.

      It’s a very good thing that Mark had Jack to help him out in his life. That type of support from older siblings can make all the difference in allowing dim-witted individuals to achieve far greater accomplishments than they would absent such a support system, if they had to rely strictly on their innate abilities.

    • 0 avatar
      everybodyhatesscott

      The IRS won’t let you out of interest but if it’s your first fine/penalty you can almost always get them to forgive it.

  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    “how am I supposed to drive to the courthouse, which is roughly 30 miles from my house, with a suspended license? ”

    You don’t. You take the bus.
    Or ask your brother to give you a lift.

    Wanna know what’s even more fun? Driving to court to see a judge about your third ticket within a year, and having your license suspended right then and there! Now you need two friends (or brothers)! One to drive there to pick you up, and other to drive your car home.

    It may take days or weeks to get your license reinstated, but, man, when they want to take it away it’s gone right meow.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    And this is exactly how a lot of people end up with warrants and/or owing thousands to the government that they’ll never have a chance of paying.

    Some jurisdictions (like mine, thankfully) are just interested in the money and make things easy for people. Others have a punitive mindset, where the goal is to get people in trouble and keep them there. Sounds like Fayette County is in the latter category. Perhaps the most extreme example was the Ferguson city government before The Troubles, as described by DOJ in its thorough and brutal report: https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/press-releases/attachments/2015/03/04/ferguson_police_department_report.pdf

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      This. And the kind of crap that happened in Ferguson happens all the time in the other municipalities in the St. Louis area. Add the element of a long, long, long history racist policing (which was f**king RAMPANT all over the St Louis area, and hasn’t stopped), and the only thing that surprised me about the Ferguson riots is that it took so long for them to happen.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I agree. As big a PITA as this is for Mark, imagine not being able to pay the ticket in the first place, having it escalate into this Big Brother exponentially-punitive nightmare, then being unable to run from courthouse to courthouse and phone call to phone call because you have no flexibility with your job schedule, and ending up with an arrest warrant and/or no job as a result. Your first crime was being poor. The moving violation was the secondary offense.

      We like to rail about federal overreach, but this entrapment is occurring on a local level and is absolutely ruining the tenuous stability some people have in their lives. This is why the 1-percenter whining over estate taxes just doesn’t resonate with me.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      @dal – I got some first hand experience in King County traffic enforcement while on vacation there in December. We were driving to Vancouver in a rented Pacifica (very nice vehicle) on a surprisingly empty I-5 and a Trooper noticed I was going 83 in a 60. Completely my fault. I thought it was (i) a 70 zone and (ii) there was little other traffic, depriving me of a ‘flow’ reference.

      The trooper was very nice and was glad I went to the trouble to drag car seats for each kid across the country as the last car he stopped had free range children in the back.

      He wrote it up for 5 over, and the ticket itself was very clear that non-payment will result in only financial penalties, which I thought was very interesting. You can get picked up in my jurisdiction for unpaid municipal ordinance violations.

      I ended up doing ‘e-mitigation’ and it is currently deferred.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Yes, we here in one of the leftier places of the left coast don’t think much of issuing warrants over traffic tickets.

        Kind of surprised that the state trooper cut you any slack on the amount, though. They’re often pretty strict. Our last encounter with them was when my wife was busted for 73 in a 55 on a rural road in middle-of-nowhere northeastern Washington. The trooper was polite but no breaks were going to be given that day.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick 2012

          A good friend is an ER doc at Harborview and knows a lot of Troopers through work. Said the really young ones get stuck in King County as the vets transfer as soon as possible.

          I was genuinely surprised when he said it was only a 60 zone, was friendly and polite, and had all documents in order. Plus, he was impressed that the kids were properly restrained in the back.

    • 0 avatar
      Erikstrawn

      Excellent link.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’ve just decided to not speed in the city limits (unless I’m “keeping up with traffic” – I see you fellow Gallupians going 50 mph in a 45 on Maloney Ave) and keep it in the safe zone, less than 10 over, when outside the city limits. Do that in NM and you’ll generally be safe.

    I fairly recently got pulled over by a young sheriff’s deputy here in McKinley county because heading uphill in a 55 mph zone the cruise control decided it need to drop a gear and hit 66 mph to maintain speed. The young man actually told me: “My supervisor said to keep it 65 or under – have a nice day.” No ticket. I think the ink was still wet on his application.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s the best way to get pulled over.

      “Well you need to slow down. But we’re not writing tickets today. Have a nice evening.”

      “Okay! I will.”

      • 0 avatar
        OzCop

        The mantra for most on an open highway is “9 you’re fine, 10 you’re mine.” During my near 30 years of cop’dom, my tolerances on interstates and open highways was at least 15 over…unless you were doing stupid stuff like several lane changes to get around slower traffic and creating a hazard to other drivers. Even if I stopped you, and actually wrote the ticket, it would generally be for 10 mph over as opposed to the 15 or 20 over…

        I wore my nickname, Easy Ozzy, as a badge of honor…Oh, and I worked the Lexington, Fayette County area Bark mentioned…

        • 0 avatar

          Sounds like you didn’t work for the state police, with that generous attitude.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          In NM you can usually say:

          Tribal Cops – radar NEVER ON and only tend to pullover tribal government employees. (Only exception is the stretch of I-40 through Laguna Acoma Pueblo – the tribe uses it as a revenue generator.)

          Sheriffs Deputies – radar sometimes on, only pull you over if you are going 10 plus over and they feel like getting out of the cruiser.

          State Highway Patrol – radar ALWAYS on, low tolerance for speeding compared to their brothers in local enforcement.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          Brother Oz, so many cops are like you, bless you. I always drive sensible four door sedans, my cruise is always at 78 (unless passing iffy situations, where i momentarily get to triple digits) and never pull rough stuff on fellow motorists. I’m NEVER slow, but haven’t gotten a ticket in years. Cops see me and I see them, and I just nod at them. No tickets. Of course, I religiously use radar shields where I can find them, speed on the right lane, and off-cruise on crest tops. Follow this rules, and even the normally rough upstate NY staties go live let live on me.

    • 0 avatar
      Chris Ransdell

      Pennsylvania is my very favorite state to drive in (and I’ve driven in all states except Hawaii). Not a lot of police, better than average lane discipline and many miles of 70 MPH speed limit, unusual for the Northeast. The roads themselves are rarely models of perfect engineering and maintenance but for me the quality of a drive is more about the amount and quality of fellow drivers. A beautifully paved road in Oregon (home state) is not very much fun if a mere handful of people spread out across each lane insist on going within 2 MPH either way of the speed limit in each lane. I never intended to live in NJ and imagined it would be a horrid place to drive but actually I’ve been pretty impressed with NJ drivers WHEN THERE AREN’T A MILION of them trying to get on the same road. If traffic is light or moderate it’s actually pretty reliably decent. Usually when there are annoying people they are from NY.

      On a trip from NJ to Western PA I was pulled over for the first time on the East coast. I was passing a long line of trucks on I-80 and the car behind me seemed to be in a hurry so I bombed past the line of trucks then moved to the right lane only to find that the car behind me was the state police. I knew I was going very fast so I thought I was going to go from no tickets in years to a reckless driving citation especially when the trooper said I was going between 88 and 92 when he followed me. Then he went away for a few minutes and came back and told me to keep it below 80. That probably doesn’t happen very often in PA but I can’t remotely imagine it EVER happening in NY or NJ. NY is the worst. There are police about every 10 miles on the interstates and tollways and they are looking for even modest violations. We go by PA state police all the time in traffic going 10-15 over and they usually stay parked.

  • avatar
    MrFixit1599

    Went through this a few years ago in WI. Got a $10 ticket for not wearing a seatbelt. Thought my wife paid it. Fast forward a year, get pulled over for speeding, 15 over.
    Next thing I know the tow truck is pulling up so they can impound my work truck, and I’m being dropped off at the nearest gas station for a suspended license that the DMV never bothered to inform me about.

    Between the impound fee, seat belt and speeding tickets, plus insurance increase, I don’t even want to think about the total cost. Was well over $1000 for a $10 dollar ticket.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    At least Maryland lets you pay @ the DMV with a credit card. Just wondering if there any points on those tickets which could add up to higher insurance rates…

  • avatar
    deanst

    For several years in a row I got caught in American speed traps,while on vacation. Luckily, the officers had some sense of morality (the “crime” was usually doing <10 mph over the limit) – and let me off with warnings after seeing the traumatized looks in my kids faces.

    • 0 avatar

      Where are you from? How foreign are ya?

      I think this matters to add story context.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        If it’s <10 over, they're not planning on handing out tickets. They're fishing for something bigger. When they know they don't have a big fish, you're good to go.

        • 0 avatar
          jefmad

          I have a friend who is a sheriff in rural Iowa who told me he almost never writes speeding tickets anymore. His reasoning is that tickets have gotten so expensive that they are starting to take away from rent money, not just beer money and he does not like that. He also told me he can spend all day dealing with people who are driving cars not registered to them, does not know the last name of the person next to them, and won’t tell him where they are going.
          If your just some guy driving along at 10 over the limit you may get pulled over, but you will be driving away without a ticket.

  • avatar
    Prado

    I have this problem as well. From experience, outgrowing it seems unlikely. I just try to minimize the impact. All bills on auto pay. Everything paid on a single card … no matter how enticing the promo is for a new line of credit, because anything ‘new’ is NOT on auto pay. Also, I got the heck out of an HOA community, because HOA’s are the worst when it comes to stability in auto payment and changing or assessing fees. HOA’s will cost the inattentive thousands in BS penalties and legal fees.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Bark’s lucky he never got pulled over while he had a warrant out for him, which is borderline miraculous given that a blue FoRS is probably a first-rate cop magnet.

    Back in the ’80s, I got a ticket in a three-stoplight Missouri town that was about 250 miles away from where I lived, so I decided they’d conveniently forget all about it. Silly small town folks, dontcha know. Well, a few years later I got pulled over in the suburb of St. Louis I lived in, and found out the hard way that s**t kick little town had quite the memory. I ended up taking a nice little joyride in the back of the patrol car to the station, where I had to call my dad to come get me. The tab for the whole thing ended up hundreds of dollars higher than it’d have been if I’d just paid the ticket in the first place.

    Could’ve been worse, though…I could have been pulled over in the city of St. Louis, which would’ve landed me in the city lockup along with half the membership of the Rollin’ 66 Crips. Good times.

    Ever since then, I’ve always been Johnny On The Spot with paying tickets.

  • avatar
    azmtns

    Traffic tickets lead to the next topic of vehicle towing/impound. Know the law in your area and don’t be afraid to hire an attorney. The attorney fees can be less the the towing fees that are being incorrectly charged. I know from personal experience.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Just pay your tickets, sorry Bark but one maybe , maybe I could see forgetting about but 2 and it seems your kinda of a regular with spending tickets so you should know the drill. Also your lucky your DL was not yanked from you. Pay the fines and make sure lessoned learned and get off my lawn.

  • avatar

    In Ohio, the DMV and the Clerk of Courts (you have to use both to get a title) don’t like to communicate with each other. They’re in separate offices (sometimes together, other times not), and have different hours of operation. When I was there, one office spoken openly in a disparaging way about the other – their next door neighbors.

    Hours also vary between branches, some of which are, for example, open until 2:00 on Saturday, while others close at 11:00.

    There needs to be consistency *at least* within the county for this crap, if not the state.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “Pay your tickets on time”

    Well, DUH!

  • avatar
    srh

    Way back in the 90s states were just starting to combine their ticketing systems. I had an outstanding ticket in North Carolina when I moved from Michigan to Oregon.

    I went to get an Oregon license, but they informed me I couldn’t because of my outstanding ticket. Wonderful.

    So I paid the North Carolina ticket, and went back in to get my Oregon license. Their system only updated monthly, IIRC, so I had to call the NC courthouse to have them fax me proof that the ticket was paid. Which they did.

    However, because the ticket was overdue, as soon as I paid it they then suspended my license. So they sent me paperwork, for $20 or whatever it cost, that showed that my ticket was paid but my license was suspended. I needed to send another $100 or some such to un-suspend my license. And then I had to send /another/ $20 to have them send me proof that my license was no longer suspended.

    All in all, this process required hundreds of dollars, the English literacy and intelligence to work through many layers of government bureaucracy in multiple states, and probably a dozen hours away from my white-collar job during business hours to wait at the DMV. And despite all that, I was still driving without a legal license for 3-4 weeks while getting it all sorted.

    This gave me quite a bit more sympathy for those who have neither the financial wherewithal, nor the literacy to understand what they’re being asked to do (or the intelligence to folllow complex instructions and fill out countless forms), or worse yet the ability to leave their blue-collar job during the 9-5 DMV hours to deal with this stuff. Now when I hear about someone being pulled over with a suspended license, I totally understand how that would happen. Possibly without them even knowing their license was suspended.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Now, imagine you have a full-time hourly-wage job with no paid vacation and you are living paycheck-to-paycheck. How on earth do you navigate the process then?

    It’s situations like this that often cause poor people to stay poor. This is no more than a minor nuisance to you, escalating to a major nuisance if you got pulled over for Driving on a Suspended.

    If you were poor at the beginning of this process? It’d be a life-destroying nightmare.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed on all counts.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yep, and in a lot of places, if you don’t have a car, you don’t have a job – simple as that. That gives courts and police IMMENSE power over people with no money.

      I’ll beat this drum again: more public transit is needed in large cities.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        Another help would be income-graduated fines and fees. $300 for fines and costs for me would be “*sigh* I guess I’ll put off buying new [thing]” For somebody poor, $300 is “Dammit, do I not-pay for my car, my rent, my utility and phone bills, or my groceries?”

        If we decide that fines are supposed to be a deterrent to unlawful future behavior it makes no sense for it to be a weak punishment for the well-off, but a possible disaster for the less-wealthy.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree with the first part Freed but not the second. Such things end up being more trouble than they are worth. The “gig” economy or whatever needs to leverage the internet so commuters are not entering dense urban areas in the first place.

  • avatar
    dartman

    Ouch! The worst is yet to come; I hate to see your insurance bill when they get wind of your suspended license…

  • avatar
    dartman

    Time to put on your big boy pants; here is a good place to start:
    https://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/auto-insurance-basics/car-insurance-with-suspended-license.html

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    Cop-supporting stickers on the rear glass may help in avoiding being pulled over. Been shadowed at least twice by police whilst having been 10+ over. Once, a motocop whipped a U-turn while I was at 80+ in a 65, shadowed me for about 15 sec — he must’ve clocked the stickers, as he then passed and pulled over a hapless motorist ahead driving a nondescript 4dr. I was in a ’15 GT 5.0. I think some LEO’s may have a soft spot for domestic ponycars.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Sticker probably didn’t have anything to do with it. They watched your driving style, ran your plate, saw nothing other than the initial speed and decided it wasn’t worth it.

  • avatar
    rcx141

    My wife just drove over to the DMV to renew her licence, to find it’s closed on Mondays. Of course it is !

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    I think Bark here is missing the point.

    It’s SUPPOSED to be horrifically inconvenient to clean up the mess, when tickets are past due. As DISCOURAGEMENT.

    Used to be, if you were out of state, they’d haul you away in handcuffs if they came into contact with you (actual aggressive searches were rare; but beware traffic stops). That COSTS – just making your life a living hell, by cancelling DL, blocking auto registration, notifying the insurance company…far cheaper and almost as much a deterrent.

    So…yeah. Pay your tickets. In this electronic age, it doesn’t pay to play scofflaw. Back when I was a young kid, when dinosaurs roamed the Earf (well, Beetles, anyway, as well as Barricudas) if you got a ticket out of state, you got arrested or had to post surety bond immediately.

    But then, in that paper era, I had driver’s licenses in three states, too…New Yark, Ohoho, and Tex As. Take that, ossifer!

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      “Used to be, if you were out of state, they’d haul you away in handcuffs…”

      Meant to say, Used to be if you skipped your court date….

      For some reason the EDIT button disappeared…

  • avatar
    Dirty Dingus McGee

    If you had gotten that ticket in Ga up until about 20 years ago, you would NOT have had a license in your possession. They used to hold your license, stapled to the ticket, until the fine was paid. Then in subsequent interactions with any Ga law enforcement, the first thing they would do is hold your license up to see how much light came thru the staple holes.

    Mine used to resemble a screen.

  • avatar
    Malforus

    Friendly reminder that this kind of third ring of hell stuff happens because of Small Government Ideologies around data sharing and platforming.

    Now I am totally fine with KY and GA keeping their data siloed and separate but this kind of complete lack of interoperability is totally the failure of no nationalized standards on data management.

    Same reason you need 10 sets of dental x-rays because your dentist “Can’t find it” or you keep getting the run around when you are transferring titles between states.

    Least we could ask for is that the Gov. could figure out how to keep traffic tickets and license holds worked out in a digital manner instead of keeping a few dozen telephone sanitizers in business with all these unnecessary calls.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Yeah. Don’t one-size-fit-all mandates from Imperial Washington, work so well? Whether they’re gambling laws, drinking-age laws, National Speed Limits, or health-insurance mandates…it’s ALWAYS…SO much better.

      Here in Montana, our DMV is one of the friendlier public-interfaces you’ll find, and that includes stores and restaurants. I am not kidding – they are truly service oriented. Back when I moved here, with a vehicle with a lien on it…there was a nice screwup with the lienholder and the bank, in getting the title transferred. Montana’s policy is, on initial registrations, to issue the tags first, and then do the title in Helena. Renewal depends on title status.

      The other state and bank screwed things up. The title was never issued.

      And my plates expired. Took me two weeks to run through it; and then the plates came due on New Year’s. Just that December was my month. With hours before my expensive truck became legally immobile, the Title Clerk Supervisor in Helena took my calls; dug for my application and supporting paperwork, and ordered up the title, giving me the document number.

      And the DMV used the document number, not holding out for the actual title, to issue me a renewal. THAT kind of service I have NEVER had in a Motor Vehicle office.

      No, I don’t want Washington “fixing” that.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Questions for you Bark:

    How much are you paying for insurance on a Focus RS with all of those tickets existing?

    Are you using a radar detector? If so, which one?

    • 0 avatar

      I only have one ticket on my record—Kentucky doesn’t count tickets from other states on your driving record. My insurance is about $150 a month for the FoRS. I don’t use a detector anymore, although I used to.

      • 0 avatar
        pmirp1

        Bark, use WAZE. It helps a lot. Not always, but a lot.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          Waze is only as good as the info supplied by others.

          It’s like playing Round-Robin Russian Roulette…and not even knowing how many previous players dropped the hammer. You might get lucky; but it only takes one miscount or miscaculation…and you’re nailed.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        That’s not bad then in terms of the tickets. I got one in Amherst NY (on the NY thruway) in December 2016 for 72 in a 55. I thought I was in a 65 zone, but the cop didn’t care. As a result my insurance went up about $200/year, along with the $300 speeding tax.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    I am sorry you had to go through that ordeal in Georgia. My Atlanta area homes are in Gwinnett county and we have great new police cars and SUVs in Duluth Gwinnett county that love to write tickets every day.

    Recently I was going on 75 south towards Savannah and my vacation home and was caught going 82 MPH when I was trying to pass slower traffic. Getting caught going over 80 MPH in Georgia and there is this crazy law called super speeder. Then they charge you even more.

    I knew I would not be paying that. First thing, next day called my trusty traffic attorney, paid his $350 fee, and he assured me that I would not pay the super speeder, and there will be no points on my record. 8 weeks later, I paid 150 for speeding ticket, and I was off the hook. I admitted nothing. Zero.

    Moral of the story, always always get a attorney. You may pay a little more, but so worth it. I never went to court. My attorney forced my court date to change three times. And at the end they settled without me calling the court or appearing in person even once. I did all via email other than initial phone call with my attorney. I love America.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      “Moral of the story, always always get a attorney. You may pay a little more, but so worth it. I never went to court. My attorney forced my court date to change three times. And at the end they settled without me calling the court or appearing in person even once. I did all via email other than initial phone call with my attorney. I love America.”

      You want to talk about scams…THAT..is the SCAM.

      It’s the Old-Boys’ Network. You call attorny. Attorney calls city/county prosecutor and/or County or Municipal judge or JP. Charges dropped or reduced, right there.

      The attorney will spend more time writing up the bill, than he will in actually working to reduce your charge. Because the Court rewards hiring an attorney – because they’re all in it, together.

      Been there, decades ago…when I was young and dumb and didn’t know my drain from a hole in the ground. Got a DWAI in Noo Yark…and the only question anyone was asking, once I hired a loy-yeh, was, how much I was paying him, for how much.

      Discussions of fact never entered into it. Pay the loy-yeh or the county judge. If you pay the county judge, you lose your license (longer).

      • 0 avatar
        pmirp1

        May be so. But so what if its the old boys network?

        Time is money. I got 30 people at my business that depend on my decisions. I am one of the good old boys too. So what if I help my attorney. I get no point on my driving record. Get to drive my Stingray and Mustang GT fast, and pay when I have to.

        That cop who I tried to be good to by getting to an exit only about 1/4 mile away so he wouldn’t be standing at side of interstate writing me a ticket, and instead was ungrateful, had it coming.

        Again time is money. If your time is valuable like Bark’s, work with the attorneys. If you don’t care for your time or driving record, then either fight the ticket or pay it. Its a free country. Choice is yours based on your means.

        • 0 avatar
          iNeon

          You’re aware the social system you’re defending (worshiping, actually) brought terribly bloody religious war to Europe and fractured the church forever– right?

          Because you’re talking about purchasing indulgences.

        • 0 avatar
          notwhoithink

          “Choice is yours based on your means.”

          I think you meant to say “The choice is yours IF AND ONLY IF you have the means.” For everyone else there is no choice at all.

  • avatar
    USAFMech

    Kentucky is the only state in the union that I will actively not live in, primarily due to law enforcement. I have a mantra that rhymes with the “tuck” part of Kentucky.

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    The day the government offices stop treating citizens as postmen (take this piece of paper here, then there) will be marked with red in the calendar.

  • avatar
    tsoden

    Bark…. your penalty for not paying speeding fines should be to impound your RS, and stick you with a Mitsubishi Mirage for 1 year… or maybe a Mitsubishi i-Mev…. Neither car is fast… and the benefit of the i-Mev is that you can only go 60 miles before it dies.

    Seriously though… be more responsible and stop driving around with a suspended licence! :)

  • avatar
    tonyola

    I got my Florida license revoked once because of an unpaid parking ticket in Miami. Took $135 in interest, late fees, and other assorted bureaucratic charges to set it straight.

  • avatar

    Since this is somewhat related, I was wondering if any of the B&B can explain the logic behind this observed behaviour. A car catches up with me on the open road since they are going over whatever’s posted – in this case 55. No worries. BUT, during my commute I pass through a small town with 35 posted. This same vehicle that caught up to me going over posted now drives – my guess – 5 under in town. After we’re out of town about a mile the following motorist resumes their over posted open road speed. Again, no worries. My question is why drop to 5 under in town? I don’t get it. In the 20 years of doing this commute I have seen a town cop car once, so I discounted previous experience with that town’s law enforcement. Any ideas?

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    Rolling up a few thoughts in one place:

    Regarding insurance, the longest you can be surcharged for an incident (“insurance points”) is 3 years, and at most 5 years for rating/tiering purposes.

    Because these things are only applied at renewal, unless your violation date is just before the renewal generates you won’t see it until the following renewal — assuming your insurance company checks your MVR every renewal. Since it costs the insurance company money each time they pull your MVR, I kept a clean record long enough that my insurer actually stopped checking my record. But if your insurance does pick it up, mark your calendar and shop around 37 months after the violation date (this works with at-fault accidents, too).

    Regarding attorneys and fighting the ticket, this is good general advice but the best thing to do is a) actually read the ticket, and b) google the jurisdiction and see what comes back.

    My wife got a ticket in upstate NY in one of those little towns just off I-88 where it’s all about revenue generation. Based on what we found, she wrote a plea letter with an SASE and got a reduction to a non-moving violation (invisible to insurance) which was $80 plus $40 court costs. Given the multigenerational photocopied plea acceptance form letter we got back it’s clear that anyone who can string together complete sentences and isn’t a repeat offender receives this automagically.

    Maybe doing the attorney thing would have been slightly cheaper but making it effectively disappear for $120 and half an hour to write a letter was worth it to us.

    In general though I feel that the further we go toward a connected, information-driven economy the worse the fee situation will become, for three reasons:

    1) It used to be that things like late fees were calculated based on the cost of labor, printing, and postage for the follow-up activity, perhaps rounded up to the nearest $1 or $5. But now that most consumers have accepted up-front transaction fees (thanks, Ticketmaster), late fees have to be increased commensurately to maintain at least the illusion of the slap on the wrist, despite the fact that it’s all done by computer and if you’re paperless the cost to the company for you being late is fractions of a cent.

    2) Businesses and governments have discovered that fees can be a healthy profit center in and of themselves, especially because in many cases they make the cost of something initially appear lower. And when a fee is punitive in nature, it’s far easier to rationalize a justification for the cost.

    3) It’s easy and inexpensive enough for businesses to report late payments to the credit bureaus now that there’s also a multiplication effect. It used to be (generally speaking) that only the banks and big utilities reported you and that’s if you went all the way to collections. Now being 60 days late with, say, a large medical bill will mean paying more for your car loan and car insurance too.


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