Written by Gregory Monte.
Its bad enough that the average traffic ticket sets citizens back around $100. But when you add in the fines, points and potential increase in insurance rates you are talking some serious, real money.
But what if you can’t afford to pay this money and yet still have to use your vehicle to get to your job, pick up your kids, go food shopping, etc.?
More than likely, your license will be suspended.
According to The Marshall Project in 2017, 43 states allowed the practice of license suspension for failure to pay traffic ticket debt. The Washington Post reports that over 7 million people currently have suspended licenses as a result of this practice.
Of course, the Traffic Ticket Nazis, those staunch upholders of justice and the rule of law, have no problem with this. After all, they claim …
“If you do the crime, you do the time.”
“If you want to dance, you have to pay the fiddler.”
If you are not a regular of my blog you may not be familiar with this type of individual, so let me enlighten you:
Traffic Ticket Nazi, noun: An individual who believes that tickets should be issued to all motorists for every minor traffic infraction.
1 mph over the limit? Ticket.
Failure to signal at a deserted intersection? Ticket.
Roll through a stop sign when no one is within 200 feet of the intersection? Ticket.
Air freshener “obstructing” the front window? Ticket.
In any case, the problem with this strict upholding of the “rule of law” is that …
“… suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid court debt traps poor people in an unfair and counterproductive cycle: if they can’t drive, they can’t work; if they can’t work, they can’t pay; if they can’t pay, they can’t drive.
Fortunately, several states have recently either ended this practice or are seriously considering doing so:
I have to admit that I have a soft spot for people in this situation. I related my own personal story several months ago where I was actually arrested for failure to pay a bunch of parking tickets.
My license had been suspended and a bench warrant issued to bring me in. Fortunately, unlike many of the over 7 million suspended motorists, I was able to borrow the money from family members and eventually overcame that difficult period of my life. But most don’t have this option and they spiral down even deeper.
The Traffic Ticket Nazis may bristle at the idea of being “soft” on these traffic law-breakers, but I think that this is a move in the proper direction.
My Free Resources
Applying the Traffic Ticket Defense Method to Challenge a Citation.
This is a seven-page, detailed explanation of my three-step method for challenging any traffic ticket. I use the “Driving at a Safe Speed” statute from Pennsylvania to illustrate this method, but it can be applied to any other statute that you might be cited for in the vehicle code.
In addition, no matter what state you live in, the procedure is the same: you need to understand the statute you allegedly violated, look for technicalities in that statute and (most importantly) find case law to support/reveal those technicalities.
The Pennsylvania Stop Sign Defense Strategy in a Nutshell.
This is a one-page, eight-point summary of the strategy I discovered while researching ways of beating unfair stop sign tickets. It is specifically geared to Pennsylvania but can also be applied to most other states.
My Son’s Opening Trial Statement at the Court of Common Pleas.
This is an elegant, one-page, powerfully concise expression of my defense strategy.
The Brief – My Son’s Case Brief for the Court of Common Pleas
- An eighteen-page argument for why an illegal stop sign is not enforceable.
- Requested by the President Judge at Wayne County, PA, Court of Common Pleas.
- A highly distilled application of the Pennsylvania Stop Sign Ticket Defense.