Unpaid Traffic Tickets: What Happens Next?

What Happens When You Do Not Pay Your Tickets in San Diego, CA

Traffic tickets may seem like a small nuisance to some drivers, but ignoring them or forgetting to pay them can actually have some serious consequences. Before the minor cost of paying a ticket escalates into something far more severe, it’s important to get it taken care of right away. Here are some of the things that can happen if you fail to pay your traffic tickets on time.

Additional Fees

If you don’t pay on time, your original fines might double and a civil assessment fee as high as $300 can be charged. The Franchise Tax Board may also garnish your wages or impose bank levies. If accounts are sent to collection agencies, they include added fees imposed by the agency to do their job.

Higher Insurance Rates

Paid and unpaid traffic tickets result in points on your driving record that can raise your San Diego car insurance rates. Insurance agencies can find this information by completing routine credit checks and contacting the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Some agencies have been known to discontinue coverage if financial responsibility is not taken.

Suspended Driver’s License

It is your responsibility to pay unpaid tickets. Otherwise, the court can send a notice to the DMV to suspend or revoke your driver’s license. Your right to drive is then removed until you settle with the court. You may also be able to pay fines directly to the DMV.

Inability to Renew Vehicle Registration

The court notifies the DMV about unpaid tickets, and a notation shows up when you try to renew your registration, license plates, or tags. You will be unable to complete the renewal process until the past due balance is paid.

Towed Vehicle

Vehicles with more than four unpaid traffic tickets are at risk of having a boot installed on the back tire by police, making the vehicle inoperable. It could even be towed and impounded until the fines are paid, both of which mean additional charges for you.

Warrant for Arrest

If collection efforts are unsuccessful, you can be charged with a misdemeanor for contempt or failure to pay. A warrant can be issued for your arrest, and police then have the right to take you into custody if located due to a minor traffic stop or if they make a surprise visit to your home or workplace. In addition to the fines, the court can sentence you to community service and/or jail time.

If you have additional questions on how unpaid traffic tickets can affect your insurance and your driving freedom, contact American Tri-Star. For answers to your questions and to receive a free quote on the cheap car insurance San Diego drivers prefer, give us a call today at 619-272-2100. We hope to hear from you soon.