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The dangers of “blowing off” a traffic ticket

If you are like many Kentucky residents, you are not particularly distressed if and when you receive a traffic ticket. In fact, you may attach so little importance to it that you forget to pay the fine and/or show up in court for your hearing. This forgetfulness, however, can get you into far more trouble than the ticket itself

When you fail to appear in court at the time of your scheduled hearing, the judge issues a bench warrant; i.e., a warrant (s)he issues from the judicial bench where (s)he presides. This bench warrant authorizes law enforcement officials to arrest you whenever and wherever they come into contact with you. In addition, failure to appear is a “crime” itself, so you now have two charges to deal with instead of only one.

Possibility of arrest

While it is unlikely that officers will show up at your door to arrest you for failing to appear on a routine traffic violation such as speeding, driving on an expired license or driving without insurance, they may well do so if your charges were more serious, such as for DUI. In addition, there is the matter of bail. If officers arrested you as a result of your violation and you posted bail in order to get out of jail, it is more likely that your bail bondsman will show up at your door if you do not appear in court when you are supposed to. (S)he has the authority to de facto arrest you and escort you to the courthouse. Bail bondsmen are prone to do this since you cost them money when you failed to appear.

Driver’s license suspension

Unbeknownst to you, your driver’s license almost assuredly will be suspended if you fail to appear in court on a moving violation. Virtually all jurisdictions not only issue a bench warrant, but also notify the driver’s license division of the state department of revenue. Your failure to appear goes on your driving record, along with its prescribed number of points. Now you have not only the points associated with the violation itself, but also those associated with your failure to appear. In addition, the state notifies all other states of your suspended license. Consequently, “everyone” is looking for you, no matter where you drive.

Getting your license back can be a very expensive proposition. Not only must you dispose of the original traffic ticket by plea or payment, you must pay the fines associated with it and the additional charges. It is not uncommon for the combined fines to run into several thousand dollars

“Blowing off” a court appearance is never a good idea. Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself of when and where you must appear and then do so. Not only will you get the traffic ticket resolved, you also will save yourself a lot of money.

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