Woman Spends Night In Jail Over 10-Year-Old Traffic Ticket

Back in 2002, a 17-year-old New Jersey driver received a ticket in New York for not having her insurance card on her. And even though she apparently didn’t pay the fine, she was able to renew her license and commute by car to New York City ever day for the last six years. That is, until she was arrested last week.

“It was horrifying,” the woman, who was arrested after her license was randomly scanned at a checkpoint in Manhattan. “I sat in a holding cell for 14 hours with people who had gun charges, who were fighting each other.”

The woman tells New York’s NBC 4 that she’s been ticketed in New York since the original summons was issued in 2002, but there has never been any mention of the outstanding ticket.

She appeared in court and agreed to pay the $155 fine, though she’s not pleased that she was treated like a felon for a delinquent traffic ticket: “Couldn’t they have just impounded my car instead of taking me and putting me with other people who commit actual crimes?”

View more videos at: http://nbcnewyork.com.

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  1. Costner says:

    So… not paying a ticket for a decade isn’t an “actual crime”?

    I’ll agree it wasn’t a violent crime… but it is a crime. What should they do to people who don’t pay their tickets for 10 years…. tell them they mean it this time as they let them go without paying the ticket? Impounding a car works great for someone who has a car at the time, but what about people who don’t?

    • cowboyesfan says:

      I think the Statue of Limitations is 7 years.

      • stevenpdx says:

        Statues of limitation don’t apply after you’ve been charged with a crime. They only apply to the timeframe in which charges can be brought.

    • damicatz says:

      Refusing to hand over your money to a gang of thieves is not a crime. If the city needs money, it can earn it like everyone else rather than stealing it.

      How does “not having an insurance card” harm anyone? I mean, it’s not like the lack of an insurance card means your insurance doesn’t apply if you get in a wreck. I mean, it’s not like the police officer can’t just look it up on those very expensive computers they outfit the police cars with (since the state keeps track of all insurance policies) but I guess that would require them to do actual “work”.

      • who? says:

        How does “not having an insurance card” harm anyone?

        It depends on whether or not she actually had insurance at the time. Not having insurance is definitely a problem. In places I’ve lived, if you get a ticket for not having the card, you can get out of the ticket by going to court and proving you had insurance at the time you got the ticket. She apparently didn’t do that.

        • damicatz says:

          If they pulled her over and found that she didn’t have insurance (rather than just not having a card), they would have not let her drive away. They would have impounded the car and then she would have had to prove that she had insurance to get it out.

          The police can look up your insurance information on their computers. There is no need for a card for them to know this information.

          • jeffbone says:

            Not to mention the fact that anyone with a working knowledge of Photoshop or Adobe Acrobat could gin up a passable replica of an insurance card. Many insurers will gladly provide a pdf file of the card which could be used as a model.

            The requirement to carry the card is silly, and just provides another excuse for the revenue collectors to do exactly that.

        • DemosCat says:

          I’m not sure if the law has changed in recent years, but in Georgia, being ticketed for not having your proof of insurance card CANNOT be waived by showing proof of insurance in traffic court.

          Georgia’s rational is, you are required to carry proof of insurance, period. If you cannot produce the card on demand, then you are ticketed. Whether or not you actually had a policy in force at the time is irrelevant to the requirement.

          Never mind the state tracks insurance polices, and you cannot renew your tag without a policy on record. Insurance companies are required to inform the state if you cancel your policy, etc.

      • GoBobbyGo says:

        You’re required to carry proof of insurance so that if you’re involved with an accident, the other party can get your insurance information on the spot rather than having to hassle with a bunch of bureaucracy.

        I got hit by a car while on my bicycle about ten years ago. Driver had a stop sign. I didn’t. He ran the stop sign. Stopped just as he hit me, so I was (thankfully) uninjured. He didn’t have his insurance info on him. I got his license plate and phone number. But I was so euphoric about being uninjured that I didn’t notice until after he left that my back wheel was bent enough that I couldn’t ride anymore. He never returned my calls, so I had to go through the state to even find out what his insurance company even was. That’s a couple hours I’ll never get back. Though it did lead to a funny call with the adjuster. “Let me get this straight. Our driver ran a stop sign and hit you on your bike, and all you want is $108? Can I come there right now and deliver it personally?”

        • kobresia says:

          Oh, that’s a great point. Saw your comment right after I hit the “submit” button. Fair enough, the proof card is for other motorists, not the cops.

      • balderdashed says:

        So let me get this straight: If I were to rear-end you on the highway and cause several thousand dollars worth of damage to your car, the fact that I had no proof of insurance in my possession, as required by law, would be of no concern to you? Well, damicatz, the requirement to carry an insurance card to operate a motor vehicle seems reasonable to me, and your “how does it harm anyone” argument seems spurious. One could apply the same “how-does-it-harm-anyone” test to a good many violations of the law. You’re going 5-10 miles over the speed limit — how does it harm anyone? You run a stop sign when there’s nobody coming the other way — how does it harm anyone? Would you want those officers who you call a “gang of thieves” to stop enforcing all laws, unless they could show (presumably, to your satisfaction) that breaking a particular law would result in “harming someone”? That’s nonsense.

        • damicatz says:

          Until that’s happened, there is no issue to deal with. This is not Minority Report where we start arresting people for things they might do.

          If the person doesn’t have their insurance card on them, you get their phone number. And you take down their tag.

          Where I live, it’s moot anyways because any accident serious enough to require insurance also requires the police to be summoned and they can look it up.

      • blueman says:

        Yes, because there’s a giant database the police have access to that shows who does and does not have auto insurance.

        Idiot.

    • milkcake says:

      You don’t think it’s bit excessive for $150 fine? I mean, people might have forgotten to pay it and all you need is a gentle reminder to get them to pay the fine. Going to jail for it seems way too excessive.

    • zandar says:

      collection agency.

    • kobresia says:

      I don’t think it was the failure to pay a ticket that was the crime, it was the failure to appear in court, which must be done if the person didn’t plead guilty by paying the fine.

      In the state of Colorado, failure to present proof of insurance is (or was, last time I didn’t have my current card) wasn’t even one of those infractions you could simply pay the fine on. It was mandatory to appear, though the judge whose docket I was assigned to dismissed my case without me needing to appear once I faxed my proof to the clerk.

      But yeah, as Damicatz mentions, they know if you’re insured on a vehicle. It’s in the database. You can’t even get plates or renew anymore without already having insurance on a vehicle. The proof cards are quaint artifacts of the old way of doing things, since the cops know the second they run your plates whether or not your car is in the insurance database.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        I think the point is, it’s an administrative crime, not a violent one. Arrests of alleged criminals for violent crime should not be mixed with arrests of alleged criminals for non-violent crime.

        • Costner says:

          How do you prevent them from “mixing”? Build a separate jail with separate police and separate judges?

          A simpler solution? Pay your fines.

          I agree this situation is less than ideal, but really… short of drastically changing the system there isn’t much that could change the outcome here. She didn’t pay a fine and/or didn’t appear in court… so just because they let her go a decade without noticing is really not a very good excuse.

          • history_theatrestudent says:

            The system needs to changed though. Creating a caste system based on the seriousness of the offense, or rather just making official what the inmates have already done and then housing individuals that way is the best approach.

            I believe the UK and other European powers do this. Partly because they are more focus on rehabilitation than we are. Something we should get back to in an effort to over the long haul reduce the prison and to less extent jail populations.

        • framitz says:

          They should be treated the same as other criminals.
          It is one hell of a wake up call!

        • kobresia says:

          Failure to appear is failure to appear (it’s ALL bailjumping), it doesn’t matter what the original infraction was– it’s a harsh response because it’s simply not okay to blow-off your court date and thumb your nose at the justice system.

          In a civilized society, full participation in the system is simply not optional. Signing the citation is basically posting bail, in the form of one’s own recognizance, which is the lowest bail there is. If one refuses to sign the ticket in order to post that most basic form of bail, it’s off to the hoosegow, just as if one couldn’t or wouldn’t post bail!

    • wynterbourne says:

      Actually, in my state there’s a Statute of Limitations for most tickets. If you don’t get caught within the time it’s active it goes away.

    • shepd says:

      In Canada (or at least Ontario) we go the easy way. You can’t renew your license if you have a conviction on your record and you haven’t paid the fine.

      That seems reasonable enough to me, because then if you’re caught continuing to drive, you know you’re going to jail and you know why.

      What if it’s an out of state/out of province thing? Then too bad for that province, unless they have reciprocal agreements they’ll need to use a collection agency (yes, that does happen) or hope that you decide to move there.

    • Charmander says:

      I wouldn’t call it a crime.

    • Lucky225 says:

      No, actually it’s not crime. A crime implies there is an actual victim, I hardly doubt the officer suffered any harm from her failure to display an insurance card. It’s called corpus delecti. The “People” of the State of New Jersey suffered no harm for her failure to carry an insurance card, and in fact, NJ statutes themselves, though in contradiction of corpus delecti, only provide for a fine and immediate impound of the motor vehicle for failure to pay the fine. Therefore her pleading to impound the car instead of an arrest is actually quite a valid one.

      • Costner says:

        You take your “its not a crime” defense in front of a judge and see how well it works.

        Get a grip… if it is codified in state law, then yes… it’s a crime. Trying to change the definition doesn’t change that fact.

    • dolemite says:

      Jail is for violent offenders, not for people not paying fines or child support or smoking a joint.

  2. homehome says:

    this crap has me scared, what if I got a $20 outstanding ticket.

    • guspaz says:

      There’s a very simple solution to eliminate an outstanding ticket with a minimum of effort. Can you guess what it might be?

    • Dami-chan says:

      You don’t just “get” an outstanding ticket. You have to work for it. Just don’t be stupid; Don’t get in trouble and if you do, pay for it. Don’t try to ignore it for 10 years and than act surprised when someone notices.

  3. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    …she’s been ticketed in New York since the original summons was issued in 2002, but there has never been any mention of the outstanding ticket.

    That isn’t anything unusual. Motor (traffic) cops find traffic warrants on people all the time and don’t do anything about it. Their job is to write tickets, not waste an hour transporting someone to jail for something minor. If they find someone with something more serious on them, they’ll call a patrol unit and pass it off to them.

    Couldn’t they have just impounded my car instead of taking me and putting me with other people who commit actual crimes?

    They don’t impound your car when you have a warrant out for your arrest. They impound you. That’s what the checkpoint was set up for – to catch people like you.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      ” Their job is to write tickets”

      Disagree. Their job is to enforce the law and protect the general population from harm.

      Writing tickets as a sole occupation is a new concept that many of us would like to see abolished.

      • damicatz says:

        They even having a name for it :
        Policing for profit

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Their job is to enforce the law and protect the general population from harm.

        I don’t disagree with you as far as theory goes, but that’s not the case in practice. Departments have Traffic Enforcement Units and Motor[cycle] Units for one reason and one reason only, and that is traffic enforcement – that is, writing tickets.

        • damicatz says:

          Let’s call a spade a spade :

          Revenue generation units. Not “traffic enforcement” because that implies that this is about safety. It is not.

          If it was about safety, they would give people tickets for :

          A.Hogging up the left lane
          B.Passing on the right
          C.Going too slow
          D.Tailgating
          E.Inattentive driving

          Instead, they focus on the “offenses” that are easiest to catch (and thus most profitable), which is mostly speeding. Nevermind that it is MORE dangerous to impede the flow of traffic than it is to speed; the “traffic cops” do not care about your safety, only that they get to meet their quota for tickets.

          • TheMansfieldMauler says:

            I don’t disagree, but:
            Passing on the right

            Passing on the right? What traffic law are you referring to?

            • kobresia says:

              I would advise reviewing your state’s driving manual. I’m pretty sure you’ll find that it tells you not to, and most jurisdictions have laws against it. It’s illegal because it’s generally dangerous & stupid.

              The only exceptions are generally for if one is passing a car that is stopped to turn left, and only if there’s a way to pass it while remaining on the roadway AND that it’s safe to pass. The latter requirement essentially revokes right-of-way for the vehicle passing on the right, and makes that driver more liable if a mishap should occur.

              In practice though, I think cops are generally sympathetic to the plight of most motorists, who just want to get around road boulders in the left lane and other stupidity. So as long as it’s not egregiously unsafe weaving in and out of traffic, they just look the other way and assume that most drivers are clueless morons, which generally seems to be the case.

              There was a case just a couple of weeks ago around here in which a bicyclist tried to overtake a motorist who was making a right turn on the right. The bike rear-ended the vehicle. The driver stopped, made sure the bicyclist was okay, and then drove off. I seriously wonder what the bicyclist was thinking, even if there’s a bike lane and bikes have right-of-way (I’m not even sure they do when it comes to passing on the right)…you don’t overtake on the right for just this reason. It’s a huge blind spot for a motorist, especially since most folks don’t know how to use the right-side door mirrors effectively.

              Another illegal thing that many drivers fail to understand is that changing lanes within 100 feet of an intersection is prohibited. Not only is that law there to keep people from changing to the right lane while someone else might be making a right turn into their paths (in states where right turns on red are legal), but it’s even more important for everyone to be focused on navigating the intersection safely. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t see someone breaking that law too.

            • RandomLetters says:

              Passing on the shoulder probably.

          • jeffbone says:

            http://www.motorists.org — join and help fight the revenue generation nonsense.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Right, and that is a practice the general populace would still like eliminated.

          I read a great article about the old-style beat cop and why the current model is bad. I never got to know the beat-cop days but I miss them anyway.

    • damicatz says:

      Can we assume that all violent crime has now been solved then and thus the police have time to run “checkpoints” for minor infractions?

      Or perhaps there are too many “cooks in the kitchen” and layoffs are in order.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        I don’t agree with checkpoints, but as far as violent crime goes the police are a reactionary force. They don’t know when/where the next violent crime is going to happen any more than you do, and while there are certainly ways to make predictions about it there is too much margin of error to effectively distribute personnel for the purpose of prevention.

        The main benefit of checkpoints is to show police presence in an area with rising crime rate or an area with a spike in certain types of offenses, such as DWI/DUI. It’s a high visibility activity.

        • Galium says:

          Police on beats and in patrol cars are there for prevention. They are not patroling to wait for something to happen, if they are only reactionary they would be in their house like the fire department. Saves on gas.

  4. Bagels says:

    Blame the OP….

  5. BMR777 says:

    This is just wrong. This is not something that she should have been taken to jail over. Jails are for violent offenders and drug dealers, not people who don’t pay a fine. Heck, I don’t see why any minor offender should ever be sent to prison when there are alternatives, such as house arrest, etc.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      Jails are for violent offenders and drug dealers, not people who don’t pay a fine.

      So then how do you suggest we get people to appear to adjudicate the offense? That’s what a traffic warrant is for. Someone received a ticket and didn’t pay it and didn’t show up for court. The offense has to be adjudicated for a “house arrest” or other penalty to be given. If someone won’t show up to court so the fine/penalty can be given, the only way to enforce the penalty is custody.

      • billybob9280 says:

        How about send her a letter? If she fails to reply, then summon her to court. There, was that so hard?

        • TheMansfieldMauler says:

          The ticket IS a court summons. A court summons she already ignored.

          And you don’t know that the court in question didn’t send such a letter. I bet she did a letter.

          But I’ve got some news that might shock and educate you: If someone ignores the ticket the officer handed them, there is a really good chance they’re also going to ignore a letter.

        • George4478 says:

          When my son got a speeding ticket, he didn’t tell me and then he forgot about it. Months later a letter came that said “You didn’t show up in court. You have 10 days to contact the clerk and pay the ticket. After 10 days a warrant for your arrest will be issued.”

          Chances are good she ignored a similar letter (or letters, if they send another one when the warrant is issued). Like MansfieldMauler said she had already ignored the summons.

    • who? says:

      ummm….she didn’t get sentenced to jail. She was arrested for failure to appear, held for 14 hours until she could appear, paid a $155 fine, and went on her way.

      Bummer that she had to spend the night in jail, but she should have dealt with the ticket when she originally got it.

    • sparc says:

      is that some Bernie Madoff logic?

    • Bsamm09 says:

      “Jails are for violent offenders and drug dealers”

      Nope that’s what prisons are for.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Apparently they are for anyone who breaks a law and gets a warrant issued. Just because you would like for them to be used for violent offenders only, doesn’t make your wish reality. Being so smug as to ignore a ticket for ten years is slightly sociopathic and incredibly smug. I certainly feefeel that a night in jail is good for primadonnas such as herself who feel they are above the law.

  6. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    I had a speeding ticket I ignored in college. A few years later, I received notice that I had a bench warrant, which I didn’t understand, and ignored. I told a friend of mine about it, and he told me what it means is if I get pulled over, I can get arrested, my car impounded, and they would take my dog to the shelter.

    It was the dog that was the kicker. The idea of her having to spend ANY time in a shelter was too much for me to handle. That next day I went to the courthouse, apologized for being a slacker, and paid my fine.

  7. Coffee says:

    She appeared in court and agreed to pay the $155 fine, though she’s not pleased that she was treated like a felon for a delinquent traffic ticket…

    Comments like this one implying that only felons go to jail are incendiary and misleading. People go to jail for misdemeanors all the time. Most DUIs are a misdemeanor offense, but the officer doesn’t ticket you and tell you to call a cab.

  8. dpeters11 says:

    Sounds like this escalated much further than needed. Usually these are put as a fix it ticket. Bring your insurance card in, they see that you were properly insured at the time, maybe pay a dismissal fee and you’re done.

    Of course there’s a deadline to deal with it, and it’s not 10 years.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      That’s assuming she WAS insured at the time of the ticket. But yes, that would have been the correct way to handle, as I once had to do the exact same thing. It was a pin, but I paid no fine.

    • Dave B. says:

      Yup. The OP didn’t deal with the ticket at the time, decided to ignore it rather than take care of it, then it bit her in the ass down the road. I have no sympathy.

  9. Marine2531 says:

    Do the arresting officers know at the time what the warrant is for? I thought they didn’t, your record just shows an outstanding warrant so they have to arrest you and let you and the courts figure it out.

  10. Blueskylaw says:

    This would probably have been resolved 10 years ago if she went to court and said: Your Honor, my bad for not having the card on my person, here is a copy of it. The judge would probably have dismissed the ticket and life would have continued to evolve.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      No need to see a judge even. I had that happen and went to the courthouse and talked to a clerk or some other low-level employee. I did not need to see a judge. It was as involved as trying to renew your registration at the DMV.

    • DemosCat says:

      Some counties in Georgia – Dekalb in particular – you cannot talk your way out of a fine. Judges don’t care if you can show your insurance policy was in force at the time; if you couldn’t produce your insurance card on demand, you pay the fine. The ticket is about failing to have PROOF of insurance, not a lack of insurance.

  11. cosmic.charlie says:

    I am more worried about police just randomly asking and scanning people’s id’s. What is up with that process? Is this common or did she get stopped and the cop ran her license through “the system” (scmods)?

  12. Stiv says:

    Pfft…that’s hardly anything. How about ending up jail because of overdue library books:

    http://goo.gl/4vNTL

    • stevenpdx says:

      Yeah, that’s called theft.

      • Fumanchu says:

        Yeah I would say overdue library books is actually more of crime than not paying a ticket. Library books are public property and you hording them is keeping anyone else from using them and costing the city money to replace them. You not paying a ticket doesn’t really have any real negative effects on anyone.

        • Stiv says:

          Fair enough

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          This. Letting a book sit at your house for months and months when someone else would like to read said book their taxes helped pay for should be a crime. Stealing public property isn’t right under any circumstances. It ceases to be borrowing when you refuse to return it.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Shit, I lost a library book years ago. Maybe I ought to mail that library the copy of the book I got at the flea market so they don’t come after me.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        Okay I totally called them and they were like “Don’t even worry about it. You’re not even in our system any more.”

        I still feel bad. I never did find that book. :(

  13. CubeRat says:

    I bet if she wasn’t placed in the holding cell, she would have continued to ignore the issue. It sounds like the warrent was issued because she didn’t pay her fine, or contest her fine from 10 years ago; so if she is just told that she has an outstanding fine and let go, what would make her clear up the matter?

    It was unfortunate for her, but what do you do in a case like this? Take her immediately to a judge? Isn’t a judge the only one who can invalidate a warrent?

  14. dullard says:

    This is a simple case. OP gets a ticket. OP fails to appear. A warrant for her arrest is issued. OP gets arrested and goes to jail.

    Does she really expect law enforcement to believe she would appear this time if she were to be released upon her promise to appear?

    This situation is nobody’s fault except the OP’s. When you are supposed to appear, you appear. Or else. It doesn’t go away just because ten years has elapsed.

  15. PolarDan says:

    Is anyone else alarmed by the phrase “…randomly scanned at a checkpoint…”?

    I thought we won the cold war. Apparently we lost, and the Soviets are here.

    Papers Please.

    • pegasi says:

      try license plates randomly scanned while cop is sitting behind you in traffic. witnessed this today driving down the road. cop was behind vehicle next to me and we were stopped at light. next thing you know, cop lights up their lights and bleeps their sirens to get the car next to me to pull over… bet you a c-note they ran the tag and it either came back with a warrant or some other outstanding issue that merited his attention as an arrest or other need to issue additional citations.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        There’s a difference between physically detaining someone to identify them and checking a license plate that can be seen by anyone in public and without interfering with the person. When you’re out in public, you have no expectation of privacy as far as what someone can see without interfering with you.

        • Costner says:

          That was sort of my thought. The “old way” of doing things was to have an officer manually type in the plate number (or prior to that radio the plate number in and have someone back at base type it in). They still got the results, but it was a more manual process and obviously they were limited by how much time it took to do so and the pesky issue of being distracted.

          The new technology simply automates the system – but people are still in public and they are still driving around with the plates clearly visible. I guess I can’t really fault them for using such a system.

          Too bad we didn’t have a way to scan the driver to learn if they actually had a license.

          • DemosCat says:

            Just wait until driver licenses incorporate RFID technology. Then a cop can remotely ping for expired licenses from the comfort of his cruiser. Or, if you scan a car/truck/van and get no returns, then no one in the car/truck/van has a license. Book ‘em Dano.

    • DemosCat says:

      It’s worse than you know. I’ve heard of a system being tested that automatically scans for license tags around a police cruiser and automatically looks up tag numbers. If there’s a hit, it alerts the cop with a picture of the offending vehicle.

      I don’t know if the system is smart enough to distinguish tags from different states. I would guess it simply flashes up a picture and let’s the cop make a judgement call. We can only hope once this system goes live, the license tag server crashes due to the big surge in queries.

      • jeffbone says:

        Those automated tag scanning systems are already in use in Northern Virginia.

        I don’t see why people are concerned. If you’re not doing anything wrong, there’s nothing to worry about, after all…

        (please calibrate your sarcasm detector before replying to this comment)

  16. sparc says:

    I have no sympathy for the nitwit OP, but you’d think there would be a way to notify her of the failure to appear before she’s hauled off to jail after 10 year minor violation.

    Some sort of secondary notice could have at least cut some costs in jail and at the court. I doubt very much that $155 compensated the state properly for tracking this for 10 years, giving the original citation, arresting her, having her sit in jail for 14 hours, and going to court.

  17. sponica says:

    stupid question time…while I’m sure NJ requires that you have an insurance card on you, and NY does as well, and she was ticketed for being in violation of NY rules, right? I’ve always wonder what would happen to a NH driver who doesn’t have auto insurance in these situations…(I carry insurance, but rarely do I have my proof of insurance with me)

    you think NY would have told NJ, hey buddy, we pulled this person over, flag them on their next license renewal…

  18. rlmiller007 says:

    10 years? What’s the statute of limitations?

    • kobresia says:

      On a bench warrant issued for failing to appear in court, there is no statute of limitations.

    • JJFIII says:

      You do not understand what the statute of limitations means. It is the time that has passed since the crime was committed until you were CHARGED. This woman committed the crime and was almost immediately charged. If say the original reason she was pulled over was for speeding, the judge could not then say, we are adding on this speeding charge, because she was not originally charged.
      Her failure to appear is considered a guilty verdict, THEN she was arrested for her failure to pay her debt to society (whether it was time or money). In many places it is common to have fines that are paid off in exchange for jail time for poorer people

  19. pot_roast says:

    Impounding your car would have cost way more than $155.

    California does something different – they just take your tax return and tack on whatever fees they feel like. I had them do this for a ticket that I got 13 years previous. (Two tickets on the same highway within two weeks. I was stupid, yeah. Paid one, thought I paid the other, didn’t follow up.)

  20. Jawaka says:

    Another typical “blame someone else rather than take responsibility for their own problem” person. She admits that she received the ticket, she admits that she never paid or contested the ticket and then she proceeds to complain when she’s arrested for it. Boo fucking hoo.

  21. shepd says:

    A friend of mine spent almost a week in jail when he crossed the border into Detroit from Canada.

    The reason? The court had made a mistake and didn’t mark down he had fought and won a parking ticket in the US about 15 years ago. The warrant for his arrest had managed to made it to a national warrant. He was an American at the time of the parking ticket, but had emigrated to Canada about 13 years ago.

    The kicker is that they put his Canadian SIN down as an SSN, so once he managed to get that situation solved (he had to use a public defender as he was broke, hence the week he spent in prison) it turned out that his SIN matched someone wanted for murder. At first he was told he’ll be held longer for a bus to take him to that state. Lucky for him, not only did the name not match, the ethnicity didn’t match either (and who knows what else, gender?) and thus he was released.

    Did you know when they boot you out of jail from a foreign country, even if they made a mistake putting you there, they don’t offer to send you back? He had to call up someone to get him back to Canada in a hurry.

  22. framitz says:

    Pay your fine or go to jail and then pay the fine.

    It really is simple, take care of business and stop whining about the night spent in jail. If i’m not mistaken failure to pay a fine is a crime in it’s self.

    Same thing happened to my daughter… It was expensive. It really hurt to see her hand cuffed and put in the back of the cop car. We bailed her out the same night. She learned her lesson and never wants to spend time in jail again.

  23. chatterboxwriting says:

    This actually happened to me over some parking tickets. I’m not proud of it, but it happened. I worked in a city that only allowed you to park at the same meter for two hours. The street could be empty and you would still have to move to another meter. One week, we got busy with a case and I got held up in conference/on phone calls several times and got several tickets. I was sent a notice with the amount due, so I paid it via money order and kept the receipt as proof. Four years later, I was arrested and taken to the county jail for about 26 hours. I was put with people accused of murder, sexual assault, and other violent crimes. I guess the court clerk only sent a notice regarding three of the four tickets. I paid off three with my payment; the fourth was unpaid.

  24. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Good. She deserved it if she had a ticket that had been outstanding for that long. It’s a crime, and her refusal to take it seriously got her just what she deserved.

  25. RayanneGraff says:

    I live in fear of something like this happening to me. I have an unpaid ticket from 5 years ago(that was unfairly issued to begin with; I was going SLOWER than the rest of traffic & it was obvious that the cop singled me out because I was driving a sports car) that only went unpaid at the time thanks to my assbag of a boss working me 6 days a week & absolutely REFUSING to let me take time off or take a long lunch to go pay it. Part of the fault is definitely mine for not paying it once I quit that stupid job, but I just couldn’t afford it(It was around $260).

    Months & years passed, life happened, and I just plain forgot about it until I got pulled over about 2 years ago & the cop informed me that I had a bench warrant for an unpaid ticket. It has since gone to collections & I have no idea what to do about it now. I’ve checked the status of it in the online court dockets & it says the warrant was “amended” a year ago, but I have no idea what that means. I’ve been pulled over multiple times since then, renewed my license, renewed my tags, had a couple other tickets that were either paid or dismissed, etc., and I haven’t been arrested or had any problems related to it so maybe it was just dismissed…? I dunno, but I’m scared. All it takes is one draconian cop… if anyone knows about Oklahoma laws regarding this kind of stuff, please chime in.

    • kobresia says:

      “Fair” is for the court to decide, but by not showing-up, it was decided to be fair and legitimate in your absence, unfortunately.

      I’m pretty sure your boss’ assholishness doesn’t override something like a court date, it might be illegal to refuse to allow you to attend your own court date. I’m certain it’s illegal for an employer to punish an employee for honoring a jury summons, anyway.

      I would imagine that your best bet is to contact your local sheriff or PD and discuss the issue with them. If they still have an open warrant and you have to turn yourself in for the issue to move forward, it’s better to do it when it’s something you can plan for rather than when you run into a cranky asshole cop. If you turn yourself in, I’d think it’s far less likely that you’d be put in jail, and far more likely they’d just direct you to whoever you need to send payment to without even making you post monetary bail. At least I would hope they’d release an honest, proactive citizen trying to make something right on one’s own recognizance.

  26. impudence says:

    FALSE!!! I am a criminal defense attorney in NYC. You cannot be locked up for merely failing to pay a ticket. She was incarcerated for driving in the state of New York while her privileged to do so was suspended. New York like every other state can and does suspend your privilege to drive in the state if you fail to answer a moving violation. She was charged with a misdemeanor namely Vehicle and Traffic Law 511.1 aka aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. The “$155 fine” was actually the mandatory minimum fine of $75 and the state surcharge of $80. Additionally until she goes to the DMV and pays the underlying ticket she will continue to break the law if she drives in the state of NY

    • dullard says:

      In California it is a separate offense, a misdemeanor, to willfully violate a written promise to appear. The disposition of the underlying offense has no bearing upon the failure to appear charge.

    • chatterboxwriting says:

      Do you know the law in Pennsylvania? As I said above, I was arrested simply for not paying that last parking ticket. My license was not suspended. I wasn’t arrested when pulled over for another offense. The magistrate issued a warrant, the constable came and took me to jail, and they would not let me out until I could find someone to bring me money to pay it (and the tacked-on constable fees).

  27. jon34511 says:

    There’s a lot of misconceptions in this thread. First off the police don’t always know if you have insurance. Not every states’ DMV ties insurance information with the license plates (VA doesn’t but NC does). The only way I can verify you have insurance is to either provide me a card, or I’ll call the company directly and verify.

    I’m also a bit surprised she had an arrest warrant for 10 years without any knowledge. Usually something like that finds its way into your life.

  28. oldwiz65 says:

    She is lucky the cops didn’t beat her for failing to pay the ticket. Or beat her for arguing with them.

  29. Cerpin Taxt says:

    Wow, I can’t believe she got away with that for a decade!! I was getting pulled over three to four times a week when my mom had a warrant from a ticket she got while borrowing my car. The warrant ended up being a court house mistake since she had gone to court and paid the fine, but it was still annoying as hell

  30. Extended-Warranty says:

    “It was horrifying”

    lol

    • RayanneGraff says:

      For someone who’s never been to jail before, it WOULD be horrifying to be thrown into a cell with violent criminals.

  31. bkdlays says:

    This is quite simple. She has a New Jersey license. She got a ticket in New York.

    There is no statute of limitations on a ticket. Did she think she could wait them out?

    I assume her license ended up suspended which is definitely an arrestable offence in most states.

    As far as “actual crimes” she committed 2 or 3. Not having proof of insurance. Not paying the ticket. Possibly driving without a license (if it was suspended)

  32. tasselhoff76 says:

    Wouldn’t it have been easier (and more cost effective) to not allow her to renew her license with an unpaid ticket on her record? Maybe send her to collections? Something like that? It just seems easier and (again) more cost effective.

    • bkdlays says:

      This eventually would have happened through reciprocity from state to state, but since licenses are good for a few years, and the states have to submit to other states, it just hadn’t happened. In my opinion.

      It is also possible to have your license suspended in one state and not another.

      She has a NJ license, but this all happened in NY.

  33. Mike says:

    This deserves some legal analysis. It’s the owner of the car that’s required to have insurance, not the driver. Why is she being fined if she was 17 at the time of the stop? Was she the titled owner of the vehicle?

  34. carlogesualdo says:

    Geez, this story actually gave me nightmares. Even a holding cell in county jail can be a scary place for someone who never did anything worse than forget to clear up a “fix-it ticket.”