Failing to pay for a traffic ticket violation is a lesson in being pennywise and pound foolish. Why do I say this? Failing to pay for a ticket may cost you your life.

Did you know that when you fail to pay for a traffic ticket, you are in contempt of court? This means that you are telling the court, “I am the court and do not have follow the laws of the community.”  If a cop stops you, he will discover you have an outstanding bench warrant for an unpaid ticket or tickets. All the cop has to do is to check your license and he will know you are subject to arrest. The cop can then arrest you, handcuff you and take you to jail. After you get to jail, you will have to post bond and pay for the ticket plus court costs. This may even involve paying for a lawyer. This means you will stay in jail until all your court expenses and ticket costs are paid in full.

Please be advised this type of situation may imperil your job situation, or have other serious effects on your life. You can risk your job if you are taking too long to pay the costs noted above.  A potential employer can perceive you to be a risk he cannot afford to hire.  Is the loss of your job or career worth the cost paying off a traffic ticket?  Additionally, there are psychological costs of being incarcerated with dangerous offenders, which may result in psychological and possible trauma from which you may never fully recover.

Therefore, make sure you pay your ticket in a timely fashion. The cost to you is ultimately tied to how much you value yourself. The danger to yourself and the prospect of jail should compel you to pay off the ticket.

If you think the ticket is unfair, appear in court and contest the ticket violation in a timely fashion at court. You may win. However, if the court agrees that you violated the law, be prepared to pay in court and get the receipt. But to avoid all of the above, do not violate the law in the first instance. An ounce of prevention is worth more than the pound of punishment you will suffer. Be careful; this might save your life, and your life matters!

The Crawford Chronicles

Warren Crawford, Esq., Attorney at Law, has over 25 years of experience working for the State of New Jersey Department of Corrections. Make sure you read the Crawford Chronicles, published the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 11:00 AM, EST at It might save your life – because your life matters!



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