Drivers across New York state are being slapped with fines for decades-old traffic citations and are in danger of losing their licenses. The ‘zombie’ traffic tickets rise back up after years because, as WIVB News 4 reports, there is no time limit for state officials to collect the fines.
While some cases are tickets that were never paid, other motorists say that the citation fines were taken care of years ago when they were originally issued. WIVB spoke with Paul Fox Jr., a truck driver who recently received three letters from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and says he paid all fines decades ago. The notices indicated that he had 30 days to pay the fines on two tickets he received in March 1994. “One letter was for suspension of my license next month,” said Fox. “They suspend my license, I lose my job. Now I can’t find a job, I’m collecting unemployment. I got to collect food stamps, and that’s taxpayers’ money out of their pockets to support me.”
Fox received the tickets in 1994 in Lackawanna for driving an unregistered car and a seat belt violation. The New York state man maintains that he registered his vehicle and paid all fines. He said that he was required to do so in order to get his car back from the tow yard.
Proving decades-old cases like Mr. Fox’s may be hard, according to Williamsville, New York attorney Steve Boyd. “The very bank the check may have been written on may not exist anymore,” explained Boyd. “Most people are supposed to keep records for seven years, so if you’re talking 20 years, it’s going to be really difficult for anyone to prove it.” Boyd added, “The statute of limitations only applies to issuing the ticket. Once you receive the ticket, and are found guilty, you have to pay the consequences, no matter how long it takes.”
Video and more info: WIVB