How do you handle overdue traffic tickets?

August 15, 2022

What happens if you don't pay your traffic ticket and the court date has passed?

Upon receiving a traffic ticket, the ticket is uploaded to the Traffic Ticket Management System and the offender has 21 days to pay the fine at the tax office.

If the ticket is not paid within the said period, the ticket now becomes a summons and that person is scheduled to appear in court on the date that is indicated on the ticket.

It is important to note that in relation to this summons, the offender reserves the right to enter a plea of guilty or they can challenge the ticket, for which a trial date will be set for the matter. If the judge accepts the guilty plea, then the judge will impose a fine and upon payment to the court, the matter comes to an end.

What is unclear to most people, however, is the process of paying the ticket when the court date has passed. If, for some reason, the offender fails to appear in court on the date indicated, then the court orders a warrant for the arrest of the offender. The offender can check the nearest police station to the address on their driver's licence to see if a warrant was issued for their arrest. If none was issued, then the offender should contact the Traffic Headquarters Process Office and make further checks just to be certain. If no warrant was issued then the offender can send a representative to court on their behalf. However, if one was issued, then the offender must face the court in order to have the warrant vacated for the court to deal with the offence.

If the particulars on the ticket are correct, the information on the ticket can be regenerated by the using offender's driver's licence. This is what we commonly refer to as a 'printout' which will show outstanding tickets. Usually the offender would normally have to attend the Elletson Road Police Station in Kingston to receive same or call and request that it be sent to the police station nearest to them. However, over the last few month, as per the new Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) system, this information can easily be obtained by simply contacting the JCF Traffic Ticket Data Centre for assistance at 876-836-0270, even via WhatsApp, and the printout can be emailed.

The offender should then take this information to the court's office for which they will arrange a court date for the matter. If the tickets are located, then clerk of court can list them on the same day. The clerk of court will then ask the judge to vacate the warrant that was previously ordered. The offender will then be pleaded in relation to the traffic offence and be given the opportunity to explain to the judge the reason for not paying the ticket. If the offender pleads guilty then he will pay the fine to the courts office and the matter will naturally come to an end.

Odane Marston is an attorney-at-law who specialises in conveyancing, administration, probate, recovery of possession, criminal litigation and divorce. Marston may be contacted via email or telephone 876-999-5391. This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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