Motorists in the Chicago area know how expensive it can be if they receive a traffic ticket or have unpaid tolls. The fees for non-payment greatly increase the amount that is owed, and additional fees are charged with each passing day. When tickets or tolls accrue, many people need to turn to bankruptcy in order to address the costs, prevent suspension of driving privileges and even a possible boot or repossession of a vehicle. The protections offered by filing for bankruptcy can greatly help these motorists retain their drivers’ licenses and their vehicles. It is crucial, however, to address the tickets and tolls as soon as possible and that they not be ignored.
It is important to speak with an attorney about bankruptcy and how it could benefit someone facing unpaid parking tickets and/or tolls. An attorney can help determine what is best for each person’s specific financial situation. The type of Chapter filed will impact what happens to the balance remaining on the unpaid traffic tickets and tolls and the amount of time provided to pay the tickets. So, it is very important to get sound and knowledgeable legal advice when facing a situation like this.
Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an individual’s dischargeable debts are eliminated. In a chapter 7, he unpaid traffic tickets will not be discharged. It simply gives debtors time to reorganize their finances, and address the outstanding balances in an effort to keep their driving privileges. This would all need to be addressed in about 60 to 90 days.
Oftentimes, however, many drivers owe more in tickets/tolls that they could pay back over the course of 60 to 90 days and therefore, usually, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be a better option. The main advantage of filing under Chapter 13 for those facing a suspension of a driver’s license is the immediate protection offered by the automatic stay. The automatic stay stops all collections actions against the individuals.
Once filed, the driver can take the notice of filing to the City of Chicago in order to have the license re-instated and then that reinstatement goes to the Secretary of State to actually reinstate the driving privileges. Chapter 13 sets into motion these steps without having to pay a large sum up front and it provides 3 to 5 years to pay off the tickets, usually even at a major discount.
While there are other means of addressing unpaid traffic tickets, including a payment plan with the city directly, it can be difficult to qualify for these plans and quite costly.
Bankruptcy provides a framework in which to reorganize one’s expenses, finances, etc. and creates a plan specific to each person’s or couple’s needs. If you have past-due traffic tickets (or unpaid tolls) and are facing a suspension of your driving privileges, speak to an experienced bankruptcy attorney about your options.
This is a very serious situation, and losing your license can make it difficult for you to be able to go to work, making an already challenging financial situation much worse. It is very important to also not get caught driving on a suspended license as that can just compound the problem. So, do not wait until it is too late!
An attorney can help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you. This allows you the opportunity to understand exactly what will happen if you file, and will also give you the chance to ask any questions that you may have about the process. You need to take control over these problems, as they will not simply go away.