What Happens If You Don’t Pay a Camera Ticket?

It happens to the best of us; you check your mail only to find you’ve received a camera ticket from a speeding camera or a red-light camera. There’s even video and photo evidence of you violating traffic rules and regulations. Speed and red-light cameras are automated enforcement technology used throughout Illinois to detect and prevent drivers from running red lights or speeding. Although drivers have an option to fight or mitigate their penalty, often recipients of these tickets pay the fine by sending a check in the mail to avoid the hassle of taking their case to court.

If you have received a camera ticket in Illinois, here’s what you need to know.

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What Happens If You Don’t Pay A Camera Ticket?

Automated speeding and traffic light cameras can’t form the basis of a driver’s license suspension because of receiving too many violations. This refers to the rule where 3 moving violation convictions in one year (21 or older) or two moving violations in two years (if under 21) could cause a suspension. The secretary of state doesn’t take these moving violations into account, meaning they won’t trigger this rule.

The risk of driver’s license suspension only occurs when you don’t pay for traffic camera tickets. For parking, tollway, or automated camera violations, having too many unpaid tickets may cause a suspension. The limits for unpaid tickets are 10, 10, and 5 respectively, which means you can have 4 unpaid tickets forever and your driver’s license won’t be suspended but once you receive the 5th, it can be suspended.

Further, if you don’t pay for camera tickets, you also risk collection fees, which often can be as high as the ticket. Also, you risk credit report damage. If it triggers a driver’s license suspension, this can only be lifted once you pay for all tickets owed, not just the fifth ticket. Alternatively, you must enter a qualified payment plan, present proof to the secretary of state, and make your payments regularly.

The choice is yours if you want to pay for camera tickets, however, if you don’t, be aware of how many unpaid tickets you have because once you hit the limit, you must pay for all the tickets plus the collection fees to be valid again.

How Much Jail Time Can I Get for Unpaid Tickets?

The possibility of jail time for unpaid traffic tickets depends on various factors. If you receive multiple traffic tickets for different or the same violations, the local law enforcement authorities may put a warrant out for you. However, other penalties are normally increased before jail time is possible. Increased monetary amounts are normally first before additional penalties are added to the original ones. You may find your driver’s license suspended. Often, you won’t know this until you’re pulled over for a new traffic offense. Then, the police will impound your vehicle for a mandatory time frame,  accruing additional charges.

When a warrant is put out for your arrest after ignoring a speeding camera ticket, the local law enforcement starts looking for you. If your driver’s license suspension leads the police to pull you over, you may face an arrest. The possibility of prison time is not as high as when a court issue a misdemeanor charge for the ignored camera ticket. However, there’s a possibility that you might spend time in a local jail, but the usual outcome from this issue is spending a chunk of time completing community service in your local area.

Although the likelihood of jail time is usually low, there are other complications for not resolving your traffic tickets when necessary. Points taken from your driver’s license may complicate you staying behind the wheel legally. The most significant consequence is the increase in insurance premiums for auto coverage.

Do Unpaid Tickets Go Away?

Traffic tickets don’t expire, but you have a deadline to fight the ticket in court, pay the ticket, or not contest the ticket. If you don’t act within this timeframe, the issue doesn’t go away or add on late fees. Typically, the matter gets more complicated.

Usually, unpaid tickets will stay on your record forever until you act on them. If you don’t show up in court to handle the ticket, a judge may issue a “bench warrant” for your arrest.

Arrest warrants don’t expire until you do the time or pay the fine. For instance, the court can issue a warrant years after you first received your first ticket. There’s no statute of limitations or set time limit by which the courts must issue an arrest warrant.

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Do Parking Citations Go On Record?

Parking citations don’t go on your permanent driving record, and they don’t affect your driving privileges. However, the DMV may keep track of you once you receive a parking ticket, but once you pay the bill, it won’t affect your record. Also, parking tickets don’t contribute to the number of points you have on your driving record–they’re no-point tickets, however, you can’t reduce your points by paying your parking ticket.

What Happens When a Traffic Ticket is Sent to Collections?

Courts spend little time hounding you to pay your fines. If your traffic ticket is sent to a collections agency, the agency now owns your debt. Once your traffic ticket is sent to collections, don’t call them or confirm your name and contact information. Because once you confirm your name and contact information, you have verified the account is yours. This makes it challenging to challenge the debt. So, don’t contact collections until you’re ready to make them a deal.

If you decide to challenge the debt, it’s the collector’s responsibility to prove that you’re wrong. The collections agency has 30 days to research your claim and prove you own them money.

Hire a traffic lawyer if your traffic ticket has been sent to collections. A traffic attorney can help you if you’re already in collections by challenging your fine with the debt company. Any errors, including the time, date, or location of the ticket can void the fines.

However, if your traffic tickets in collections have no errors and they’re certainly yours, you have contacted the collections agency and paid off the tickets, you can request they remove the ticket from your credit report. Request they remove the ticket from your credit report once you pay it off in one payment.

Contact Our Experienced Chicago Traffic Lawyers Today for Legal Advice!

Have you recently been cited for a traffic violation in Illinois? In most cases, you can easily take care of a traffic ticket, however, when you ignore it can become a headache. Besides, facing any criminal issue is stressful, so it’s crucial to have an experienced Illinois traffic lawyer by your side.

Our traffic attorneys in Illinois have handled hundreds of traffic camera ticket cases in Illinois. We know what to look for to get a ticket thrown out or get your charges reduced. We represent drivers with moving violations and license and insurance tickets, and also we process bonds for people with warrants.

To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced Chicago traffic attorneys, call us today at (708) 465-1040, or chat with us online to learn how we can help.

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