How Do I Know If I Have Outstanding Traffic Tickets?


Knowing what’s on your driving record can save you time and money. That is especially true when you have outstanding traffic tickets. What starts out as a minor infraction can become a problem that leads to significant fines, suspension of your driving privileges and jail time. Accordingly, if you’ve lost track of that ticket and whether or not you paid it, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise if you happen to get stopped by the police again. By understanding more about traffic tickets and your driving record, it’s possible to maintain your driver’s license in good standing.

People get tickets for traffic infractions every day. Regardless of the precise circumstances, that ticket must be addressed. At least two options for proceeding are available. These include paying the fine or requesting a court date. Failure to do either of these things within the stipulated time period, which is sometimes only 30 days, leads to additional consequences.

Initially, these consequences may be a surcharge on top of the fine. If the outstanding ticket lingers or if the infraction was serious, then other consequences may ensue. This also is true if you asked for a court date or were required to appear in court and failed to appear. In such cases, a judge may swear out a bench warrant for your arrest.

This usually doesn’t mean that the police are going to break down your front door at five o’clock in the morning. However, you may be in for a nasty shock the next time the police stop you. When they run your driver’s license, that bench warrant will pop up, and you’ll get arrested.

Alternatively, there won’t be a warrant, but your driving privileges may have been suspended based on those unpaid tickets. This may result in your arrest or you’ll be given another ticket and a court date.

Clearly, having outstanding traffic tickets can be inconvenient, expensive and embarrassing. That’s why it’s always best to be well-informed regarding your driving record. To find out if you have any outstanding traffic tickets, contact your DMV or department of licensing. Many states make it possible for you to order a copy of your driving record online, over the phone or in person. A fee is involved, and you may have to wait a week or two.

If you think that you may have an outstanding ticket in another jurisdiction, then contact the DMV or the court there. That ticket may show up on your state driving record, but it may not. It’s preferable to err on the side of caution.

Take some time to review your record. Look for any outstanding tickets, then figure out how to pay them. You also may need to take a driver education class or contact the relevant court to schedule an appearance. The effort will be worthwhile as it will result in the restoration of your driving privileges and put you at less risk of a terrible shock the next time the police stop you.