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Coleen Hoffmeister
Coleen Hoffmeister, Legal Assistant
Category: Legal
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Experience:  23 years in legal experience.
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unpaid traffic tickets

Customer Question

Is there a statute of limitations on unpaid traffic tickets in Texas? The Police here are trying to collect from me, tickets I recieved up to 6 years ago.I just recently moved back to Austin Tx from Arizona and got a ticket for no insurance. When I went to pay for an extension they said I had warrants from tickets dating back up to six years ago including one for a car I never even owned. What can I do about it?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Coleen Hoffmeister replied 11 years ago.
It's called the long arm of the law. Statute of limitations on most criminal, except murder, is 7 years. However, since these tickets are attached to your driving record, it is the most well-kept record keeping the states and federal government have. And, it is up to your state laws how long these tickets stay on your record. My suggestion is to get them cleared up as quickly as possible by either working the system yourself to see what you can do or contact an attorney to help you clean them up. I promise you they will haunt you until you take care of them.

You will need to refute the one on the car you never owned. Check to see if there is someone who has the same name as you, check to see if the ticket, driver's license and social security number match, as well as the address. You will need to check with the clerk's office IMMEDIATELY to see if you can appear before a judge to give you extra time to straighten these matters up.

Depending on how serious the tickets are, most courts would rather you be on the streets, working to pay the tickets, etc., off, than to be in jail. If you have criminal charges, they may want to book you into jail, which is not a happy occasion. If they do want to book you into jail (check with your sheriff's department or the police department and ask them what they will do), be prepared with bond money and/or a bondsman. And for God sake, don't do it on a Friday in case they require you to appear at a Preliminary Hearing or before a judge before you are released.

My son had a check that he didn't even write 6 years ago for $30. He has a serious disease that requires machines and meds 24 hours a day. They wanted to put him in jail on a Friday night with a $300 bond 100 miles from his home.The only reason they didn't was because he had so many medical problems and I know the attorneys in his town. We called and he checked in to the booking area, had his bond money, but it still took him 2 hours to get released. So be prepared.


Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Coleen Hoffmeister's Post: The answer really didn't answer My question, I wanted to know how long it stays on My record, I heard 2 to 3 years. And could they really do this? trying to collect from 6 years ago? The tickets weren't for anything criminal
Expert:  Coleen Hoffmeister replied 11 years ago.
I'm sorry I confused you. Maybe I didn't understand your question correctly.

I am glad the tickets weren't for anything criminal. Believe it or not, the traffic tickets can show up on your driving record indefinitely. Most investigative agencies can search your record from the time you got your driver's license.

Yes, they can maintain a warrant - which is considered criminal because you didn't show up for 7 years in most states. Should you think that Texas is different, please feel free to check with the Sheriff's Department or Police Department in your area -- even call the place who has a warrant still valid. They will be more than happy to tell you.

If you still need me to check on anything for you or to answer further, please feel free to let me know.

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