Has anybody ever been arrested for not paying parking tickets?

Has anybody ever been arrested for not paying parking tickets? If they were arrested was it simply a tactic by the police to harrass someone suspected of some other crime?

A friend of mine was arrested for not paying parking tickets. Spent a long, very stressful weekend in jail.
And no, it wasn’t a ploy to get to her for some other reason. She had just let a bunch of tickets build up until the court got pissed off.

Often they won’t make a point of coming after you just for parking tickets, but of course that can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the amount of citations. However, it’s not uncommon for a warrant to be issued. Then, if you’re stopped for a traffic violation, the warrant will be revealed to the officer and you get a free ride downtown. If you have outstanding tickets, I would suggest pay them or always carry enough money to make bail.

My Uncle spent several hours in jail once due to unpaid parking tickets (+$600), in the 70’s. Most were $10-$15 many of which doubled after 45 days. So anyway, he had at least 20 & probably many more unpaid tickets going back about 2 years (He was in College and just parked anywhere he damn well felt like – “What are they gonna do, ARREST me?”)…:rolleyes:

Again, this was +25 years ago, he had to go to court with the knowledge that if he cut a check on the spot he could walk out the same day … if he did not I think there was some talk of a small amount of time (This may have been my Grandfather trying to scare the crap out of him & his impressionable nephews).

It was all very traumatic for a “nice” 70’s family, which I add only to say I am +90% certain he was arrested for the tickets and not to “sweat him” about suspected other crimes.

I think it depends on the laws where you live. In many places they just impound your car and keep it until you pay. I saw on the news a couple months back that in San Francisco there’s a guy who just lets his tickets pile up until they take his car, then he goes out and buys another junker for less than it would cost to settle his ticket debts. Obviously, the city doesn’t appreciate that very much, but I assumer they have the option of auctioning his car off after a certain time. I also assume the guy’s insurance must be sky high (does constantly buying and “losing” a car affect that?)

Voguevixen: I heard the story (in the 70’s or 80’s) about the guy in SF applied to a well-known (left-leaning) lawyer. I forget his name, though I ought to know it. I saw him in court once, trying to defend a guilty-as-hell coke dealer (in Marin County’s Civic Center --a weird looking building if ever there was one [designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; you saw it in Gattica]). He was also known for a sort of William Kunstler harido; a long grey ponytail. He might be dead now.

Anyway, I believe his scheme was to let them sieze his car and sell it to pay off the accrued fines. In the “old days” of the 70’s, you could pick up a sort-of running car out there for a couple of hundred of dollars (especially if you weren’t ashamed to be seen in a Rambler).

I did also once heard there were 3 cars for every 2 legal parking spaces in SF. It is probably true.


Locally (mid MI), if you have substantial number of unpaid parking tickets and

A. the police find your car parked - they’ll call for the ‘boot’ which attaches to your car, you cannot move it. the car will be impounded (eventually, after of course, it’s sat there for a long enough period of time that virtually everyone who knows you and your car can snicker at it), and you’ll not only have to pay all of the parking tickets, but additional fees for the tow and impound lot. And, if you happen to be a high profile person (like the legislative aid this happened to), look forward to being the topic of a ‘human interest’ news story.

B. the police find you in the car, they’ll arrest you (and depending on the timing, you may not be able to see a judge and have bail set right away) and your car will be towed/impounded etc.

I told my college boyfriend this, he didn’t believe me (well, except for the ‘boot’ part, they didn’t have 'em back in 76), I think it was a week later he spent the night in jail.

Google – arrest “unpaid parking tickets” – there are scads of stories.

JCHeckler, it sounds like you are talking about the famous Tony Serra. I don’t know any criminal defense lawyers who are not left-leaning, incidentally. Serra has an article in this month’s California Lawyer talking about his love of writer Herman Hesse. He was profiled on 60 minutes once.

The Marin County Civic Center is one of Wright’s last masterpieces. Mission style with a blue tile roof. It can be seen as the exterior shots for the sets in Gattaca with Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, and a couple of the interior shots. People either love it or hate it.

Not only do you get arrested (cuffed, stuffed in the patrol car and held in the local lock-up until a judge or magistrate can see you), there is a fair chance that you will do jail time for contempt of court for not paying the tickets unless you have a very good excuse for ignoring them, assuming it is a criminal violation and not some sort of administrate fine. About the only excuse that is going to work is a claim of recurrent amnesia. Be very polite and apologetic. Pay in cash on the barrel head. :stuck_out_tongue:

I have a friend who tells a good story about how he dodged a mess of parking tickets some years ago. He’d accumulated about $500 worth and was getting some increasingly nasty dunning notices. He went down to a stationery store and order a large official-looking stamp and red inkpad. He returned the request for payment, stamped “DECEASED.” Claimed it worked like a charm.

Of course, that was in a time when computers were not in such wide use for tracking scofflaws.