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Court workers refuse to let man pay $160 speeding ticket with spare change

Many people who feel as if they have been unjustly issued parking tickets or speeding tickets elect to lodge some sort of informal protest designed to show the state or local government how they truly feel. Sometimes this takes the form of mailing a nasty letter with the ticket and payment, voicing their frustrations directly to a government official or simply refusing to pay the ticket altogether.

Yet another form of protest favored by some people is attempting to pay the entire amount of the ticket in spare change, something they feel would prove extra taxing and time-consuming to state or city workers.

Interestingly, a 25-year-old college student in Fort Collins, Colorado, recently attempted to do just this. However, he wasn't trying to make any sort of political statement or joke, rather he did so because spare change was all that he had.

According to reports, Ted N., had previously been issued a $160 speeding ticket and attempted to pay the fine with a change bucket containing exactly the amount owed (a bank had counted it out for him).

However, the court workers would not take it, claiming it would take far too long to count and that he would need to come up with another way to pay the traffic citation.

"I had the bank count it, but they wanted to charge me to turn it into bills. And I don't have the money for that," said a frustrated Ted N., who was short of funds after paying his monthly rent.

The court workers seemed less than compassionate for Ted N.'s plight.

"It's not prudent use of taxpayer funds to have one of the clerks sit there counting quarters, nickels and pennies," said the municipal court supervisor. "We don't have the staffing to hand-count coins. I think the taxpayers would not be happy if we were spending hours counting a large amount of coin."

While Ted N.'s bank could count the coins and eventually credit his account, it could take up to a week. This is problematic because his traffic court hearing is scheduled to take place in only a few days.

"If they don't accept my payment, they might suspend my license, which is going to cause a whole bunch of other problems," he said.

It remains to be seen how Ted N. will resolve his problem. However, it should be noted that the county parking office -- located just across the lobby from the court office -- has its very own change-counting machine.

Stay tuned for further updates from our New York traffic law blog ...

If you or a loved one has received a speeding ticket, don't just dismiss it.

Instead, 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. Names have been withheld to protect the identities of the parties.


Colorado 9 News, "Fort Collins rejects coins as payment for ticket; coin counting machine across lobby" April 4, 2012

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