Overpaid fines and trouble-help.
March 19, 2010 7:33 PM   Subscribe

10 months ago I got a speeding ticket, a ticket for expired insurance card, and didn't show up in court. How much trouble am I in?

Near the end of may, I was driving from chicago, where I live, to VA, for a friends wedding. I got pulled over for speeding. By law, the officer asked for proof of insurance. I was driving the bride's car, and she hadn't updated her insurance card. She had insurance for the car, we just didn't have any proof. If it was just a speeding ticket, I could have just paid the fine, but because of the lack of proof of insurance, I was called in to go to court a couple days later. The officer said that because the car actually did have insurance, I could just fax them proof, and wouldn't have to come to court. Problem was, I would be in Virginia, and proof was in chicago. So, I didn't show up for court, and then never paid any fines. So....
How much trouble am I in?
Can I just call up the court, fax them the insurance card, and pay the speeding fine?
Or have I accrued more fines and penalties because I'm late?
And because I couldn't just pay, but had to go into court, the officer never told me how much of a fine I had. How much are speeding tickets in kentucky?
And is there a fine for having an expired insurance card?

Any answers out there?
posted by shesaysgo to Law & Government (10 answers total)
There is probably a bench warrant out for you. Also, you can have points on your IL license due to the Interstate Driver License Compact. IANAL.
posted by desjardins at 7:43 PM on March 19, 2010

Your answers are with the jurisdictional authority. Call the phone number on your ticket (or find it via the internets), navigate the menu until you're talking to someone, and have your ticket number handy. They will answer your questions and tell you what you can/must do.
posted by carsonb at 7:44 PM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, not a lawyer, not legal advice. Just speaking from the experience of having insurance/ticket problems in areas outside of hometown.
posted by carsonb at 7:46 PM on March 19, 2010

agreed; i had an expired inspection ticket go to bench warrant and got arrested when a cop stopped me for a broken tail light. spent the night in jail, paid my fines in the AM (when the judge arrived), was released.

also, in my case it was quite a bit less than ten months between "oops" and "warrant issued".
posted by radiosilents at 7:50 PM on March 19, 2010

Seconding carsonb's advice to call the phone number on your ticket. If you don't have one, call the court clerk in the jurisdiction in which you were ticketed. Court clerks are overworked and underappreciated, but they'll be happy to help you if you're polite and calm. Explain the situation and hope for the best. If the solution they offer you sounds too complicated or difficult, you can always contact a lawyer to help you handle it.
posted by amyms at 8:28 PM on March 19, 2010

Maybe none. When I was in college, I got a speeding ticket. I intended to go to court to argue down my fine, but being a college kid, I didn't end up making to court. I never called the jurisdiction or arranged to pay the fee in any way. Since then (and it's been about 15 years now), I have been pulled over several times and had my license run, and renewed or gotten a new Driver's License in several states (including states that directly border the state where I got the ticket. I have also passed numerous credit and Criminal Background checks.

I am going to severely regret this comment when I get arrested and extradited to $STATE in three years, but so far it's never adversely affected me in any way.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:30 PM on March 19, 2010

This is just anecdotal, and I'm in Colorado, not Kentucky, but:

In most states, judges will issue a bench warrant if you miss a court date. This means that if you get pulled over, you will probably go to jail. It'll be a suitably tiny bail (maybe $100 or something) but you'll be hauled downtown, have to go through booking, and sit in holding. Most jails are really, really slow at letting you out even after you're bailed, so it often takes a long time.

Take it from me - I've been arrested several times in the last few years, and it's always been because of tiny, meaningless tickets like this. Last time, my brother was there, and he bailed me out the second I got to jail - he actually got there before the cops managed to bring me in. I was still in there for ten hours before they got the paperwork processed.

You may find that a cop who pulls you over with a bench warrant on you for something so small will decide to 'look the other way' and let you drive home, with the condition that you take care of this as soon as possible. (This has also happened to me.) But I wouldn't bet on it. Also, like I say, I'm in Colorado, but (just from anecdotal evidence) I wouldn't count on Kentucky cops being delightful, polite, and friendly. I don't know.

I think you should go in to the courthouse as soon as possible. You might call them, but my experience is that you might find they want to actually see you in person. I would recommend going there, just to see if you can take care of it in one visit.
posted by koeselitz at 8:53 PM on March 19, 2010

I missed one similar to this a few years ago. There was no trouble at all until the court sent the fine to collections, +collections penalty, + interest, +fees: it ended up costing me about $800 and a lot of very unpleasant phone time. I badly wished that I had taken care of it earlier.

Best to call the court and find out. Good luck.
posted by SLC Mom at 10:10 PM on March 19, 2010

I live in KY, and the fine police force doesn't put up with people skipping on their tickets all that often.

Standard ticket seems to be about 120, plus 5-10 for every mile per hour over you were going, depending on the road type. If you can give me the county or the city you were in when the infraction occurred, I can get you about any resource (besides someone to pay it off for you ;-) that you'd need to get this cleared up. Me-mail if you wish as well.
posted by deezil at 5:56 AM on March 20, 2010

Purely anecdotal, and from a different state:

I got a speeding ticket in Massachusetts, and I left it unpaid and never showed up for court. I live in NY, and my license was from Maryland. I got several notices in the mail stating that my right to drive in Massachusetts would be revoked if I didn't pay up. I continued to not pay the ticket ('Why would I need to be driving in Massachusetts, anyway?')

About a year later, I went into the Maryland MVA to renew my license. It turns out that my right to drive in Massachusetts wasn't the only thing revoked—my license was suspended in all 50 states and had been for about a year. I'd been driving regularly with a suspended license and had no idea.

I have no idea if Kentucky would be similar, but it seems worth calling the county that you got pulled over in to be sure. What started for me as a $100 speeding ticket ended costing over 3x that much to reinstate my suspended license.
posted by cheerwine at 6:25 PM on March 20, 2010

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