If you're tempted to ignore your parking tickets in the hope that the law and the DMV won't catch up with you, think again. If you fail to either pay or contest these tickets, you could find yourself under arrest.
That's what happened to a Princeton University professor earlier this month. The woman was pulled over by police for allegedly driving 67 miles per hour in an area where the speed limit is 45 mph. She got much more than a speeding ticket. She found herself in handcuffs on the side of the road.
2 Tickets Can Trigger an Arrest Warrant
Dashcam video from the patrol car shows that when officers checked the woman's driver's license (which turned out to be suspended), they found that she also had unpaid parking tickets. Both dated back to late 2012. A warrant had been issued for her arrest for her failure to respond to these tickets. The officers who made the traffic stop did, indeed, arrest her.
According to the prosecutor in this case, if a person fails to pay or contest a parking ticket by the date noted on the citation, he or she will be sent a Failure to Appear notice with a new court date. People who still fail to respond are given one additional chance to appear in court. However, he notes that under New Jersey law, an arrest warrant isn't issued unless a person has been unresponsive to two tickets.
When an arrest warrant is issued for unpaid tickets, law enforcement generally won't come looking for you. However, if you are pulled over for some type of infraction, as this woman was, they can arrest you.
A Change of Address Is No Excuse
On the dashcam video of this traffic stop, the professor is heard explaining to police that her address is different from the one on her license. However, that is not considered an excuse under the law for not responding to a ticket.
Laws regarding at what point someone can be arrested for failing to respond to tickets vary throughout the country. It's important to know what the laws are in your state are. It's even more important not to let these things go unaddressed.
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