The way the fine is enforced depends on who has issued it. You need to pay the amount asked for using the details on the notice. If you pay by a certain date the amount you have to pay will be reduced. If you leave it longer, the amount due can be doubled.
Types of Parking Fines
There are three common types of traffic penalties:
Fixed penalty notice (FPN) issued by the police
These are issued for parking, dangerous driving or other minor offences. Points can also be added to your license as well as the financial penalty. If you don’t pay within the allocated time, you may get a summons to a magistrates’ court and the amount you owe will increase. The only way to appeal against a Fixed penalty notice is to go to a hearing at the court.
Penalty charge notice (PCN) issued by local authority traffic wardens
These are issued for parking or other driving issues, such as driving in a bus lane. If you don’t pay the PCN, the amount you owe will increase and the debt may be registered in the County Court. The local authority can use bailiffs or enforcement agents to recover the money and extra fees will be added. You can appeal a PCN, initially to the council and then through a formal tribunal process.
Invoices issued by private companies for parking on private land
These are issued for overstaying in supermarket, hospital or other private car parks. If you don’t pay the amount owed, the parking company will write to you and may apply for a County Court judgment. In the past these companies would clamp cars, but this has been illegal since 2012.
If you believe that the penalty you’ve been issued is unfair, you may be able to challenge it. Before you start your appeal, you need to consider why the penalty is unfair. For example, if you made a mistake, you might not be able to appeal the fine. You also need to gather evidence that supports your appeal, such as car park receipts. If you were parked near a meter, take a photograph of your car near the meter, and the date and time that was on the meter. Once you’ve gathered this evidence, you need to send your appeal either as a letter to the address on your parking fine ticket, or via the parking enforcer’s website.
In your appeal letter, make sure you include:
• Your address
• The date of the offence
• Your vehicle registration number
• The PCN number
• The reason for appeal and why you believe it’s been issued unfairly
• All evidence that can support your appeal
How Do I Write My Appeal Letter?
It’s really important that you clearly get your point across in your appeal letter. To do this, you need to:
• Explain why you’re writing the letter, making sure that you reference your PCN number and date, time and location of the penalty
• Explain the reason why the parking fine was issued
• Give reasons why you’re disputing the fine. Some examples are:
• Unclear or incorrect road signs
• You weren’t driving the vehicle at the time the fine was issued
• You didn’t own the vehicle at the time, and the offence was committed by the previous owner (you will need evidence of ownership to prove this)
• You have evidence that you were allowed to park in a certain area or space within the timeframe of the fine
• You have a Blue Badge due to a disability, and were permitted to park in the area for which you received the fine
• Mitigating circumstances, such as parking on a double line due to an emergency
You should send your appeal off within 14 days of the fine being issued. Doing this will give you time to pay a reduced fine if your appeal is rejected. However, this doesn’t guarantee that your appeal will be successful.
Parking Tickets May Affect Your Credit
A credit report is a record of how well you manage debt, including information related to accounts such as loans and credit cards. At one time, information from public records, such as tax liens, civil judgments and parking tickets, also appeared on credit reports. But today, the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) no longer include public record information on credit reports, with the exception of bankruptcy. While parking tickets won’t appear on your credit reports or directly affect your credit scores, an unpaid parking ticket that’s been sent to a collection agency does have the potential to affect your credit. Most modern credit scoring models ignore the collection account if the original ticket amount is less than $100 (more on that later), but parking tickets can easily exceed this amount and there’s no guarantee your potential lenders will use a scoring model that ignores these small accounts. That’s why it’s a good idea to take care of unpaid parking tickets before they’re sent to collections no matter the amount.
How Collections Impact Your Credit
Collection accounts remain on your credit report for seven years from the original delinquency date (the date your account became 30 days past due). They are considered part of your payment history, which has the single biggest influence on your credit score. However, the effect collections have on your credit can vary based on the credit scoring model being used and the amount of the unpaid collection.
Paying off a collection account may or may not improve your credit score depending on the credit scoring model that is used. Paying off collection accounts won’t affect scores calculated with these models. No matter how much your original parking ticket cost, it’s always wise to pay off a collection account, but doing so won’t remove the account from your credit report any faster. The good news: As collection accounts age, their impact on your credit score will diminish until they are ultimately removed from your credit reports entirely.
How to Resolve Unpaid Parking Tickets
To resolve an unpaid parking ticket, look over your ticket for the agency that issued it to find out what you need to do. It may have been issued by a university law enforcement agency or local police, for instance.
Contact them or explore their website to learn more about how to pay an unpaid traffic ticket.
Even if your account has been sent to collections, contacting the agency that issued the ticket is the best place to start. Depending on your financial situation, you may be allowed to set up a payment plan for the ticket or negotiate a lower payment amount. This can make it easier to pay if your original ticket amount has multiplied due to fines, late fees and other penalties.
What Type of Public Records Affect Your Credit?
Although public record information on civil judgments, tax liens and parking tickets won’t show up on your credit report, bankruptcies will and they can have a severe negative impact on your credit score. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years from the date of filing; a Chapter 13 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for seven years. Both types of bankruptcies are likely to affect your credit scores, as well as lenders’ decisions about your creditworthiness. Having a bankruptcy on your credit report can make it more difficult to get approved for loans or could mean higher interest rates even if you are approved.
A parking ticket may seem like a minor inconvenience, but a parking ticket you ignore could become a major hassle. Depending on state and local laws, your driver’s license could be suspended, you might not be able to register your car, your vehicle could be booted or impounded, or a warrant might even be issued for your arrest. If a collection account related to a parking ticket shows up on your credit report, there are still ways to offset its negative impact on your credit score. Bring any other late payments current and make all future payments on time (consider setting up autopay to keep from missing a due date).
Parking Tickets Vs. Traffic Tickets
Parking tickets are citations for breaking local or municipal parking laws. These are tickets you get when your car is parked illegally, hence the name! Parking tickets do not go on your driving record.
Traffic tickets are issued when your vehicle is in motion. They’re given out for infractions like speeding, not using your turn signal, running a stop sign, and so on. Traffic tickets are given out by law enforcement and can impact your driving record.
Consequences of unpaid parking tickets
It can be tempting to toss a parking ticket into your glove box and forget about it, but you could face some consequences for giving into this temptation.
Consequences for unpaid parking tickets vary by city and state, but may include…
• Doubling or tripling of fines: If you don’t pay the parking ticket within the specified timeframe, your original fee could double or triple with late fees and collection fees.
• Getting your vehicle booted: A device is attached to a wheel of your car to prevent you from moving it. When this happens, you aren’t going anywhere until you pay up.
• Hold on your vehicle registration: The agency that issued the parking ticket can report your fines to the DMV, who can then put a hold on your registration renewal. In other words, you can’t register your car until you take care of your unpaid parking tickets.
• A bench warrant for your arrest: Sit on an unpaid parking ticket long enough and a local court may issue a notice for you to appear in court and pay the balance you owe. Ignore this notice and the court could then issue a bench warrant for your arrest. If you aren’t familiar with legal speak, this means that cops are authorized to arrest you if they spot you on the road.
• Suspended driver’s license: Finally, accumulating unpaid parking tickets can result in a suspended license. Driving is a privilege, not a right and ignoring parking tickets can result in losing that privilege.
Unpaid parking tickets and car insurance rates
Do parking tickets impact car insurance rates? The short answer is no, unpaid parking tickets don’t directly impact car insurance rates. However, the consequences that result from unpaid parking tickets can affect insurance rates. If your license gets suspended or there is a bench warrant issued for your arrest, you’re likely to see an increase in your car insurance rates.
Priority Debts & Non-Priority Debts
Some debts are more urgent than others because the consequences of not paying will vary; those with more critical consequences are known as priority debts and include matters such as mortgages, rent and Council Tax debts. The Creditors in priority debts are known as “Priority Creditors.”
Debts which are considered to be less urgent than Priority Debts are debts such as Credit Card debts, Overdrafts and other Unsecured Loans. These type of debts are known as “non-priority debts.” If you have got Priority Debts, then you must make sure that you can pay these first before reaching an agreement with Non-Priority Creditors.
Examples of Non-Priority Debts include:
• Benefits over payments.
• Credit debts such as Overdrafts, Unsecured Loans, Credit Card Accounts and Catalogues.
• Hire Purchase or condition of sale (except for essential items).
• Water and Sewerage charges (please note that an individual cannot be cut off for water debts).
• Student loans.
• Money borrowed from friends and family.
• Parking penalties issued by Local Authorities (but parking fines issued by the Courts are priority debts).
It is important not to ignore letters or telephone calls from your non-priority creditors. Get the service of an attorney and you should do this even if you are not in a position to know whether it is possible to pay back the debt or what arrangements you may want to make, in the future. If your creditors do not know that you are having financial difficulties, they will assume that you just do not want to pay and start taking action against you. In these circumstances, it is clearly very important to secure payment or, at the very least enter into an arrangement for payment, at the very earliest opportunity.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
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