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View Full Version : What if i buy a car that has unpaid parking tickets?


mhendo
08-09-2005, 11:05 AM
My wife and i are about to buy a second-hand car. We're buying it from a friend, so this scenario is unlikely to be a problem, but i was wondering what would happen if you purchased a second-hand car and it had a whole bunch of unpaid parking tickets.

Firstly, is there any way to check whether a car has such outstanding tickets? Second, after you buy the car is there any way to get previous unpaid tickets expunged? Is it normal practice to hold the new owner responsible for unpaid tickets that carry over from the previous owner?

At first, i thought that the unpaid tickets might come up on the DMV's computer when the new buyer went to change the title over. But it then occurred to me that there's no reason this would be the case. After all, tickets are usually given out by (in my case) the city, while the title tranfer and change of registration are carried out by a state agency, the DMV.

I'm in Maryland, but i'm not looking for advice specifically related to me. I was just curious about what the general procedure is for stuff like this.

Athena
08-09-2005, 11:09 AM
Around here, parking tickets are tied to license plates. When you buy the car, you'll get new plates. The old plates - and the old parking tickets - will still be tied to the previous owner.

saoirse
08-09-2005, 11:25 AM
In New York, you won't be able to register the car, unless you sign a form saying something to effect that you are uninvolved and unaware of the parking tickets. If you do, the tickets will follow the person who held the title to the car.

mhendo
08-09-2005, 11:33 AM
In New York, you won't be able to register the car, unless you sign a form saying something to effect that you are uninvolved and unaware of the parking tickets. If you do, the tickets will follow the person who held the title to the car.But how would a new owner be aware of, of involved with, the parking tickets accrued by the previous owner?

bordelond
08-09-2005, 11:34 AM
Around here, parking tickets are tied to license plates. When you buy the car, you'll get new plates. The old plates - and the old parking tickets - will still be tied to the previous owner.
Ditto for Louisiana and Mississippi. Don't know about Maryland.

Saoirse -- it's different in NY?

Jayrot
08-09-2005, 12:05 PM
FYI, here in California, the plates come with the car in a person-to-person sale.

mhendo
08-09-2005, 12:09 PM
FYI, here in California, the plates come with the car in a person-to-person sale.See, that's why i asked the question.

In Australia, which, along with the UK, is the only place i've ever bought a car before, the plates come with the car. But looking on the Maryland DMV's websites suggests that here the old plates are turned in, and new ones are issued to the new owner.

Athena
08-09-2005, 12:42 PM
Odd. I've lived in Michigan, Minnesota, and Colorado, and have always had to buy new plates when I purchased a vehicle, regardless of if it was from an individual or a dealership. Come to think of it, hubby bought a motorcycle in Wisconsin, and he couldn't even get a temporary plate there (something about him living in MI but buying the cycle in WI made it complicated.)

Jayrot
08-09-2005, 12:55 PM
Actually, the risk is usually in the other direction. When you buy a car, say here in California, you pay the seller and he gives you the title. However, he fills out the bottom, detachable part of the title and sends it in to the DMV. It is important for the seller to send this in as soon as possible, since it is this "document" that informs the DMV of the new owner and essentially absolves the seller of responsibility for the actions of the car (and licence plate).

Bookkeeper
08-09-2005, 01:49 PM
In Ontario, the plates are registered to the owner, not the car. When we bought a new car a couple of months ago, the last step in the process was the salesman removing the plates from our trade-in and putting them on the new car. Any unpaid tickets would stay with the plates.

iamthewalrus(:3=
08-09-2005, 04:52 PM
I just bought a new car a few weeks ago, and when I went to register it at the DMV, the lady helping me told me that it had unpaid parking tickets. She suggested that I request new plates, so that I would not risk the boot by a police department that's not up on the current ownership.

It was only $16, so I figured it was worth it to not get stranded in LA sometime. Normally, I'd just keep the plates that were on the car.

Tower Dweller
08-09-2005, 11:05 PM
Wow - I had no idea there was this much difference from state to state.

My experiences: Virginia, the plates are tied to a person, not a car. The DMV will issue you new plate if you need them, and then register the plate number with the VIN from the car. If you sell your car and don't buy another one, you can keep the plates or turn them back in to the DMV for somebody else to use. As for registration, it's the new owner's responsibility to register the car with the DMV and get it inspected and get valid plate for it. At least that's how it used to work - my uncle sold an old car once and the new owner apparently never registered it, and the cops called him one day months later to tell him that his car was sitting on the side of the road and could he please move it. I think he told them to keep it.

Same in Wisconsin, where I owned two cars in a row. Sold the old one, took the new one into the DMV, where they changed the registration. I was able to use the plate I got for the first car. I had the title from the seller, which has a space to fill out the price, new owner's name, etc. The DMV then printed up a new title with my name and everything, no problem.