Will US immigration make me pay old parking tickets?
May 14, 2008 1:15 AM   Subscribe

Very old parking tickets/fines and US immigration... do I have to pay up when I come home?

I am a US citizen, but left about 3 years ago and haven't gone back to visit since. When I left, I gave my car (registered in my name) to a friend who managed to generate some $700+ of parking fines in New York before finally disposing of it in a manner which is not entirely clear to me - I believe it was eventually towed to a junkyard by the police after being abandoned for some time on the streets of Brooklyn. I suspect, however, that the State of New York, given the opportunity, would claim I owe them a big chunk of cash for this.

Question: if I come back to visit the USA, is this going to turn up in my file when I'm going through immigration or any other likely situation? If so, would this happen anywhere, or only in New York? (In other words, should I avoid flying in or out of JFK?) Do these sorts of fines go away after some time (if so, how much) or remain and accrue interest forever? How can I be most confident of this not being an issue on my visit?
posted by xanthippe to Law & Government (9 answers total)
What? That's crazy talk. Immigration is not in the business of collecting parking fines for the City of New York.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:25 AM on May 14, 2008

Shouldn't be a problem (though I have heard talk...crazy as it may be...of connecting the national DMV database with immigration databases to further the "war on terror"...) unless you plan on driving a rental car and getting pulled over by NY cops while stateside.

Unfortunately, it won't just go away. Apparently, NY state holds onto those parking violations like a dog with the proverbial bone.
posted by squasha at 1:58 AM on May 14, 2008

oops. try this
posted by squasha at 1:59 AM on May 14, 2008

Yeah, it's the universal anti-terrorist databases and whatever else they've thought of and i haven't heard about that have got me worried... It should be crazy talk, but I think paranoia in the face of the US government is something that has become much more legitimate over recent years.
posted by xanthippe at 2:08 AM on May 14, 2008

if there's a warrant out, they might catch you at immigration in new york city. i doubt they would flag you anywhere else unless it was for a felony. so fly into new jersey and breathe easy.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:26 AM on May 14, 2008

If you still have any family members living in NY state, they may be able to get a printout of your DMV record, just so you know what you might be facing. My dad was able to get one for me when I needed to add it to my Japanese driver's license application.

It is just this sort of "paranoid" concern that keeps me renewing my California driver's license every few years and writing letters to the California courts to explain why I must defer my jury duty, despite my *strong* desire to participate in the judicial system. Even after more than a decade in Japan, a mortgage and a permanent Japan resident's visa, I still want to remain on the good side of US immigration, in case, you know, retiring to Kailua or Solana Beach (or some other pipe dream) ever becomes a reality.

Of course, continuing with the paranoid train of thought sometimes makes me wonder if I really want to return....
posted by squasha at 6:30 AM on May 14, 2008

I'm not from NY and don't have any family there, actually; will this be on my DMV record for my home state, or only for NY? Back in the day I recall not paying out of state fines since they would never find their way back to my state DMV and were essentially unenforced. Has this changed?

Another paranoid concern: are they going to want me to pay taxes? That's an even scarier thought.
posted by xanthippe at 2:07 PM on May 14, 2008

You will probably not owe taxes, but you will need to file them. If you pay taxes where you work, you will not be double taxed (at least I'm not in Canada), but you will need to file.

Immigration won't enforce that. But I'd probably get that over with, since you never know if you might have to move home. (well, you might. That's why I keep paid up).
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:02 PM on May 14, 2008

Immigration will not want you to pay taxes. Trust me on this one.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:07 PM on May 14, 2008

« Older Adobe Indesign: I'm getting weird lines on my...   |   Coffee Antidote For Falling Asleep? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.