The $5000.00 Traffic Ticket
Ok, if you are like many people, including myself, you get a ticket, parking or otherwise, say something nasty, throw it in a drawer, and promptly forget about it. A couple months later, you receive a letter from the Court telling you that a “Default” was entered because you did nothing about it and the $150.00 fine has now grown by $100.00. Another “Oh, shit, I’ll take care of it when I have a spare $250” and like the original ticket, it goes into the disappearing drawer.
A few months later, you receive another letter from the Court telling you a bench warrant will issue unless you take care if it and again, it gets ignored and then a bench warrant issues. And maybe unknown to you, the Secretary of State has been notified and your license is now suspended.
What this all means to you is that if you are pulled over or just the innocent guy at the traffic signal who gets rear ended, you are about to go to jail. All because you failed to pay the original ticket which now seems like the cheapest thing you could have done.
Now you will be taken to jail and, because the Court knows you have ignored their summons in the past, you won’t get out until you can see a judge and post bond. And, if it’s Friday, enjoy the weekend in the pokey, because you won’t see the Judge until Monday morning if you’re lucky. Also, because you ignored the ticket for so long, under the Court Rules, you can’t fight the ticket anymore, so you will have to plead responsible for the original traffic violation. But now, you also have a misdemeanor Driving on a Suspended license to Deal with, which again you can’t fight because your license was suspended and you were caught driving. Short of your wife in the back seat having a baby, you have no excuse for why you were operating a motor vehicle. So, the Secretary of State will also suspend your license for a full year because you drove while suspended.
All-in-all, had you just paid the ticket or hired a traffic ticket attorney for $500 or so, to represent you and hopefully get the fines and points reduced, you would have saved a ton of money, kept a misdemeanor conviction off your record, wouldn't have to budget for your upcoming UBER costs to get to work, and you wouldn’t have had to spend a glorious few nights as a guest of the county.
Bottom line, you have to take time to deal with the ticket and it hurts to pay the fine. But it hurts even more if you ignore it. Hire an attorney, it probably is the cheapest and wisest thing you can do and will save you money and grief in the long run.