Do Traffic Tickets Expire?
If you’ve received a traffic citation, you may wonder what you really have to do with it. What would happen if you simply didn’t pay it?
Ignoring a ticket will not make it go away, and you will be TIA "Tried in your Absence" and found guilty of the charge against you. Failing to pay a traffic ticket can lead to increased fines, a suspended license, an arrest warrant and points added to your driving record. Furthermore, your options to fight a traffic ticket are significantly reduced after being found guilty on your court date. Generally, you would be issued a summons of which consequences will be given and a deadline of when you need to pay the ticket or appear in court. You may be able to avoid some penalties by completing the requirements by the deadline.
What would you do if you received a speeding ticket in the mail for a traffic citation issued over 20 years ago?
While it may sound like something from a movie, this situation is actually taking place and affecting several South Carolina residents. The Magistrate’s Office in the town of Pamplico has issued court summons and collection notices for drivers who they say have outstanding tickets. What makes matters more complicated is that some recipients are arguing that they do not remember being issued the ticket or any additional legal notices.
One elderly man who was reportedly passing through Pamplico to get lumber in January of 1993 says that he was supposedly issued a ticket for speeding. The citation had an attached court date in May of that year. The man claims that he did not know about the ticket or the court hearing where he was found guilty and issued an additional fine for failing to appear. Since driving records can only be traced back 10 years, he was unable to find the exact incident mentioned in the citation, but did discover that there was no record of any outstanding tickets for the past decade. The judge re-issuing the past tickets claims she hired a new clerk who has thoroughly searched the South Carolina Setoff Debt Collection System and discovered many citations which were never paid. Despite this statement, the man does not believe he would have failed to pay a ticket and thus insists he never received the traffic citation.
This man is one of many South Carolina residents receiving notices of unpaid tickets. Some may have added fines or penalties for failing to make a payment or missing court appearances. Rather than simply paying a ticket they don’t believe they ever received, residents can seek help from a South Carolina attorney experienced in handling traffic tickets and representing clients in traffic court.