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Do Parking Tickets Affect Your Driver’s License?

Do parking tickets affect your driver's license

Parking tickets are one of the most common problems for drivers around the world. That’s not surprising, given that there are just so many reasons you can get a ticket. Luckily its not a criminal offense, only a bylaw

In different countries, different rules apply. In this article, we’re taking a look at the rules and regulations — as well as the steps you can take — you should remember when you receive a parking ticket.

In the US

In most cases, a parking ticket won’t significantly affect your driving record. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore or put off paying parking tickets. Accumulated tickets and unpaid fines could be reported to your city’s DMV, and that comes with some serious repercussions.

Additional Fees

In California, for instance, you have 21 days to pay a parking ticket. Failure to pay within that timeframe subjects you to additional fees. In some cases, the late fees double the ticket price.

If you fail to pay within 82 days of issuance, you incur an additional $21, called the collection fee — the cost of the extra time they spend trying to collect the fee from you.

If you fail to pay after 82 days, you’ll be banned from DMV transactions. This is where things get serious. You won’t be allowed to register a new vehicle or re-register an existing one.

The DMV can also charge higher fees, and you won’t be able to renew your license until the ticket has been resolved.

Boot and Tow

Depending on the state, authorities may look for cars with five or more unpaid tickets. And when they find your vehicle, they may place a boot in it or impound it until you pay the tickets.

Then, you’ll be subject to hefty towing and impounding fees.

Credit Bureaus

In the US, there are three main credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — which are responsible for reporting on your financial status and creditworthiness. The longer you ignore your unpaid tickets, the more likely you’ll be reported to one of these credit bureaus.

And when you have negative marks on your report, it’ll be more difficult to find willing lenders or any kind of credit. And if you do find a willing lender, you’ll likely pay higher interest rates.

Eventually, such marks can appear on your driving record, which means you’re subject to license suspension. If driving is core to your work, your tickets will be reported to your employer.

In the UK

In the UK, it’s possible to get a parking ticket for a variety of reasons. There are two main types of tickets: a penalty charge notice (PCN) or a fixed penalty notice (FPN).

Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)

PCNs are typically issued by parking attendants employed by the local city council or Transport for London.

You have 28 days to pay or appeal the ticket. However, if the violation is caught on CCTV and the ticket is issued by mail, your deadline shortens to 21 days. If you pay within 14 days, you can get off the hook by paying half.

Authorities will send you a reminder to pay the ticket after 28 days. If you still don’t pay within 28 days of receiving the reminder, the charge will increase by as high as 50%.

Private companies also issue parking tickets, which may be called PCNs, but they’re not the same PCNs issued by local city authorities.

Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN)

FPNs are issued by traffic wardens employed by police, and they are for more serious violations such as red-route or priority parking.

As with PCNs, you have 28 days to either pay or appeal the ticket. A 50% additional fee is also charged if you fail to pay within that deadline.

Failure to pay may lead to further actions such as prosecution by the magistrates’ court. You’ll also be required to pay additional fines.

FPNs also tend to count toward your driver’s license points. In more serious cases, immediate disqualification is applied. Penalty points also stay on your license for four to 11 years.

Appealing a Ticket

You can challenge PCNs and FPNs if you have a solid argument against them. Common reasons include:


  • You weren’t at fault
  • You weren’t driving the car at the time (for PCNs sent through the mail)
  • The council didn’t follow correct procedures in issuing the ticket
  • The fine is higher than the amount allowed

You can appeal formally or informally. To appeal informally, you can write to the council and explain your argument. Include supporting documents such as receipts or photos. To appeal formally, you can make “formal representations” with the council, which will send you the guidelines on how to do it.

In Canada

In Canada, you only have 15 days to pay or dispute a ticket. After that, the provincial Offences Court may or may not decide to suspend your license. In most cases, they don’t. However, it’s best to know other consequences of unpaid tickets.

You will receive a Notice of Suspension via your mailing address along with the necessary steps you must take to get your license reinstated.

You won’t necessarily receive the same notifications from your insurance company or the Ministry of Transportation, so it’s your duty to ask questions and ensure your license is still valid.

License Plate Renewal

In Ontario, drivers with unpaid tickets are denied license plate renewals at the Ministry of Transportation. You must pay any unpaid fines first before being able to renew your license plate.

Graduated License Program

If you don’t have a valid license for three years, you’ll have to undergo the graduated license program all over again.

The program includes a vision test, a written test, and the G2 and G road tests. You must also pay any applicable fees before having your license reinstated.

Disputing a Ticket

You can dispute a parking ticket, although the process varies from city to city. In most cases, you have to weigh the practicality of disputing such tickets.

Depending on the fee, situation, and other factors, it’s sometimes best to pay the fine and save yourself the time and money needed for disputing.

In Australia

Parking tickets are extremely expensive in Australia, amounting to hundreds of dollars. On top of fines, you’ll also get demerit points on your license. They may be recorded on the day you commit the offense or when you’ve paid the fine.

After receiving a parking ticket, you have 28 days to pay the fine either in full or via a payment plan when the cost reaches $200 or higher. Within that timeline, you can also appeal and dispute the ticket.

Unpaid Fines

If you have an overdue fine, you risk having your driver’s license suspended. The local authorities may also enforce fine restrictions, such as restrictions on transactions with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

Under this restriction, you won’t be able to:

  • Renew your registration
  • Apply for or renew your driver’s license
  • Transfer vehicle ownership

Driver’s License Suspension

Overdue fines may lead to license suspension, which bars you from driving a vehicle or supervising a learning driver. If you drive with a suspended license, you risk taking on more fines and penalties.

At the same time, the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Unit (Fines Unit) may suspend your license regardless of your demerit points.

Property Seizure

If the fines remain unpaid, the Fines Unit may seize and sell assets and properties to cover the fees and debts. These assets may include:

  • Motorbikes
  • Boats
  • Trailers
  • Other cars you own

They may also clamp or impound any vehicle you use, whether you own it or not. Any costs incurred from the seizure and sale of the assets will be added to the amount you owe.

Methods of Payment

You can make payments in different ways, which will be shown in your ticket notice. Generally, your options include:

  • Payment reference number
  • Australia Post
  • In-person
  • Payment arrangement
  • BPAY

Payment arrangements help you spread out your payments over a longer period. You can pay weekly, fortnightly, or monthly until you complete the fine. The amount you pay will depend on how much you owe and how often you want to pay.

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