Here in New York City, our vehicle traffic laws dictate that the statute of limitations on parking tickets is approximately eight years and three months. This means that the Parking Authority has a little over eight years to try to collect on outstanding parking tickets, likely employing a variety of methods -- warrants, towing, booting -- to do so.
However, in Nassau County, there is no statute of limitations on parking tickets, meaning officials can conceivably come after you for as long as they wish.
In fact, one woman who has long since left Nassau County recently received a bill for seven expired meter tickets issued 15 years ago.
According to reports from WABC New York, an executive who chose to remain anonymous received a "second final notice" from the Nassau County Parking Authority informing her that she owed $920 on the seven tickets issued back in 1996, and that she risked ruined credit, arrest warrants and towing/booting if she failed to pay up.
However, the woman indicated that she never received any prior warning and, more importantly, paid all the tickets back in 1996.
"I have an excellent credit score, close to 800, I pay everything," said the woman. "Again I can't just show any check because who retains checks for 15 years?"
Indeed, because banks are only legally required to keep records for seven years, there is no way to prove that she did pay the tickets or for the Parking Authority to prove that she didn't.
Interestingly, the sudden reappearance of the parking tickets may have something to do with a recent audit by the county comptroller, which determined that Nassau County has failed to collect upwards of $123 million in outstanding parking tickets dating all the way back to 1979.
"They didn't do a good job collecting their parking tickets and so in an effort to recoup millions of dollars they lost in revenue while laying off people in Nassau County they are going after their lost revenue," said the woman said. "It's more than a pain, it's just not fair."
Luckily for her, a crew from WABC New York spoke with the head of the Nassau County Parking Violation Agency on her behalf and convinced him to drop the price of the outstanding tickets from $920 to $120, eliminating 15 years of interest and penalties.
If you have been issued a traffic citation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
Stay tuned for further developments from our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...
WABC New York, "Woman battles county over 15-year-old parking tickets" Feb. 27, 2012