How to Handle Traffic Tickets in Collections & Avoid Fines. Bet you didn’t know you could get help paying a ticket! A ticket is given when you have broken a rule. Have you ever parked in an area that seems to be legal, only to discover you did not read the small print on a traffic sign? It is very frustrating to have to pay out your hard earned money to the city. There are also, other types of tickets like speeding, expired license plates, moving violations, running a red light, failure to yield etc. It is a mind field out there, no doubt!
What if I can’t Pay?
Traffic tickets are a pain. When you do not pay them off immediately there are consequences. What happens when you get a ticket and you have no money to pay them off? Many unpleasant things can happen when you do not pay off traffic tickets in a timely manner. The city can,
- Have your vehicle impounded
- Place a boot on your car
- Suspend your license
- Revoke your license (many long-term unpaid)
- Add your debt to your state taxes
- Deduct the fine from tax returns
What to Do
If you have traffic tickets in collections, first, make sure the information on the ticket is correct. If you have a smartphone or use Chrome or another browser that tracks your movements, check to see if your vehicle was at the stated location on the ticket at the specified date and time. Someone else in your family could have been driving your vehicle. If you find any discrepancies in your statement, the ticket can be challenged an made void.
Do you Have Traffics Tickets in Collections?
Courts don’t spend a lot of time hounding you to pay your fines. If sent to a collections agency, they now own your debt. After a ticket has been sent to collections, don’t call them or confirm that the ticket is yours. If you contact the collection agency and they will ask to confirm your name and address, etc.
When you confirm your name, address (which they will use to sell your account to someone else if you don’t pay) you have verified that the account is yours. You are now not unable to challenge this debt. Don’t contact them until you are ready to make a deal. (I will discuss this later)
If you choose to challenge the debt, it is the collector’s responsibility to prove that you are wrong. The collections agency has 30 days to research your claim and verify you own this money. No harm, no foul!
Get an Attorney
Hire an attorney before your court date. Most lawyers know the judges and they can be very helpful in getting your ticket dismissed. Very often if the offense is minor your you can expect this result.
- the traffic ticket will be dismissed
- you will not have to pay a fine
- your account won’t go into collections
- your credit won’t be negatively affected
- you will not get any point on your driving record
Of course, you have to pay an attorney, but it is well worth it to avoid all the problems listed above. Many attorneys will allow you make payments. Especially when you are a regular.
A lawyer can help you if you are already in collections by maneuvering the process of challenging you fine with the debt company. Any errors such as time, date, or location of the tick can void the fines. If you are not good at talking up or feel uncomfortable talking to them, your attorney can handle this for you.
Of course, they can not get the collection removed if you owe them money, but if the collections agency is lazy they may let the 30-day period lapse before responding to your challenge and they have to remove the item from your credit report.
However, you will still have points on your traffic record. All in all that is still not too bad.
Pay it Off in Exchange for Removal
If the traffic tickets in collections have no errors and the ticket is definitely yours, you have contacted the collections company and make arrangements to pay off the ticket, but get something in exchange for paying it off. Request that they remove the item from your credit report. Of course, this method will not work if you own 5 or $10,000 and don’t have the money to pay it off. Depending on how long you have this item has been in collections consider letting it fall off in 7 years.
If you Decide to Pay the Debt Agency
Ok, so you don’t want to get representation. You just want to pay the agency and move on. Request the item be removed from your credit report when you pay it off in one payment. Ask for the agreement to be put in writing before you make the payment.
They have no problem lying to you to get your money. Once you receive the letter, make the payment. It will take about 60 to be removed from your credit. Check all three credit bureaus to make sure it has been done. You can get a free credit report once a year.