Tipline Question: Old Tickets For New Revenue?

5:44 PM, Aug 11, 2011   |    comments
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   A 2 On Your Side viewer contacted our Tipline after he got a state DMV letter in early July which warned him his license could be suspended in August unless he resolved a traffic violation dating back to January 1995.

   Gilbert Harris says his late father told him years ago he had paid his son's ticket for an unregistered vehicle. Harris says he has renewed his license, registered vehicles, and even been cited for another violation in recent years for which he paid the fine. But he says no one at traffic court or the DMV raised this 1995 violation until now and he has no way to access any documents to show payment by his father. He says he has lived in his current address for the past 18 years.

 Harris also says the next available court appearance before a judge would have been two days after his license was suspended.  He says there were other people with old tickets in traffic court.

   Harris agreed to pay the 75 dollar fine and a 25 dollar surcharge to resolve the matter. But now he questions if the Town of Tonawanda and state are simply seeking new revenue with the stated threat of license suspension and potential additional court costs.

  Town of Tonawanda traffic court officials returned our call and stated there is no record of this particular ticket for Harris being paid in their computer or paper systems. They also say there is no statute of limitations for traffic tickets.

  Judges in the Court say there is an annual review of such cases with the state DMV and that agency then sends out notifications to the alleged violators. 

  A state DMV spokesman says there is no new specific effort to seek revenue from such cases.  There was no explanation for the 16 years of no action in this case but he did say changes of address can be a factor in efforts to track down the alleged violator.     

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