Can I ignore this ticket?
November 19, 2008 7:03 PM   Subscribe

What should I do with an exorbitant traffic ticket from NV? I live in Canada, with an Australian passport, and visit the US semi-regularly. Oh yeah, and I didn't do it...

About a month ago, I was stopped in Beatty, NV for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. The fine was $187. I was given until late December to sort it out.

I am an Australian, currently living in Vancouver, BC. I do travel down to Washington state a few times a year, and need to do a visa-waiver form (I-87?) at the border, which lasts me 3 months.

My question is whether not paying the ticket will land me in trouble, either with US Immigration at the Canada/US border, or in Washington state. I will not be going to NV to contest the case, whatever happens.

Has anyone had any luck contesting this sort of thing from out of state/country? I swear I came to a complete stop, but understand how hard this will be to prove, especially form Canada.

So, can I just ignore the ticket? I can't see myself driving in NV again in the next few years, but don't really know how far they can chase me, so looking to the hive mind for help...
posted by chromatist to Law & Government (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ignoring the ticket, and then getting arrested five years from now when you get pulled over for something else would probably be unfortunate.
posted by inigo2 at 7:26 PM on November 19, 2008

Either pay the fine or worry about that outstanding ticket every time you're in the US for the rest of your life.

Here's the thing, though: your license isn't issued in the states, so the "points" assessed aren't going to mean squat. "Fighting" a ticket usually involves getting it talked down to a non-moving violation (no points), paying the original fine and some amount for "court costs".

You do *not* want to be like me: I got pulled over doing 70 mph (I'd just driven 70 miles on the cruise control, and it took one hour and seventeen seconds) in a 70 mph zone in Kansas. Because I'd been in an acciden years before with no insurance, I had to send in my insurance proof to my state every six months. State lost my paperwork, suspended mi license, and for some reason didn't bother to send me any notification of this fact. I found out my license had been revoked from the cop that had pulled me over in Kansas.

So my now-wife had to drive ten hours, each way with my mom and her mom for moral support, and a thousand bucks in bail money and come get my sorry ass.
posted by notsnot at 7:39 PM on November 19, 2008

If Nevada is anything like the states I've gotten tickets in, you can probably plea bargain with the prosecutor and get a lesser fine. I don't know that it's worth it for a $187 ticket, though.
posted by wierdo at 7:40 PM on November 19, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks all for your comments, looks like I will just pay the fine and be done with it. Does anyone know how far the jurisdiction with something like this is? If I get pulled over in WA, would I get arrested? Or is it just limited to NV? Does this info get shared with US Immigration?
posted by chromatist at 7:48 PM on November 19, 2008

Best answer: Uh, please remember it's the US right?

*Thinks of a zillion stories Elysum has heard about internationals in America getting minor fines etc, then upto many years later, being arrested, being deported - and once deported not being allowed back for 10 years, blah blah blah*

You DON'T want to end up in a US jail, or a detention centre, and it's surprisingly easy to do - especially the letter..

Write a letter if you want complaining about the stop sign thing - but be assured in most countries, you won't have a chance of getting off it, regardless.
Yeah, it's unfair.
Just think of it as an extra travel tax/insurance and pay the &*%^er'.
posted by Elysum at 7:58 PM on November 19, 2008

State-to-state you should be fine. State warrants don't cross the lines. They won't arrest you in Washington State for a violation in Nevada. I have no idea how the Federal border crossing would work, though.
posted by hwyengr at 8:03 PM on November 19, 2008

Response by poster: cool, thanks all, you convinced me. Next time you are in Beatty, NV, go have a look at that wonderful courthouse Chromatist helped build....
posted by chromatist at 8:07 PM on November 19, 2008

Not paying it could possibly cause problems renewing your licence.

Here in Ontario, the province has a reciprocal agreement with every other province, and the states with most travel to/from Ontario, that one jurisdiction won't let their licence holders renew their licence if they have unpaid tickets in the other jurisdictions. Don't know if this exists between BC and NV.
posted by winston at 8:54 PM on November 19, 2008

Y'know, as much effort as it might be to fight it, you do still have rights... If you can find the time and excuse to go to NV again... Mr. Police Officer usually has to make an appearance - if he doesn't the case may well be dismissed. If you can explain your extenuating circumstances (and non-local address) to the judge, you may well get your case dismissed with a warning. Now, if your question is 'is it worth fighting for considering it's $187?' I might say the answer is no... BUT it does tend to clear the mind if you make the trip to the USA often enough.

Just my two cents - if going back to NV simply isn't an option than mail the check in tomorrow and put it behind you.
posted by chrisinseoul at 3:34 AM on November 20, 2008

In a lot (most?) places Mr. Policeman can write a sworn statement, submit that to the court and never show up. It counts as them being there.

The old routine of cop doesn't show==no ticket is long gone, especially now that they 'need' your ticket revenue more than ever.
posted by whoda at 4:33 AM on November 20, 2008

On the other hand, whoda, I did get out of a ticket a year or so ago when the policeman didn't show up. They dismissed maybe 10-15 of us. This was in NY.
posted by kate blank at 7:10 AM on November 20, 2008

Or, you could use these guys. Also, CPK has the same service for free. I've known people that have successfully used both services.

Usually they negotiate it down to a similarly priced non-moving violation. The point being that it doesn't end up on your insurance. Being from out of the country that might not be important, but it also may be useful to not have a speeding ticket on your record in the future.

Traffic tickets in the southern Nevada area are kind of a racket. I don't know about Beatty - I didn't see anything in your question that indicates whether it was local, county, or state that gave you the ticket. If it was local, you probably just have to pay the fine and accept the ticket. If it's county or state, you might be able to keep it off your record.

Just what were you doing in Beatty, anyway? :)
posted by krisak at 8:58 AM on November 20, 2008

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