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Old 03-15-2008, 08:28 PM   #1
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Legal Advice

I received a ticket for not stopping at a stop sign on 1/25.

I paid the ticket....Today I received a letter from the City of Sacramento saying I never paid it nor did I appear in court(the money was never withdrawn from the bank account,it was paid for by check).

Now it says my license is suspended and I now owe $491,the original fee was $191.

Does anyone have any advice for me on how to fight this? I don't think I've ever been so pissed in my life. I mean come on,I can now get thrown in jail when I get pulled over and have my car impounded. This is a bunch of bull ****************,I plea guilty,pay my fine and now get more penalties for some stuff I didn't do.

Either;

-The check was lost in the mail. I doubt it,it only had to go 15 miles away from the post office I dropped it off to

-The City is way behind on filing their payments

---EITHER WAY I'M PISSED.

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Last edited by blinkwatt; 03-15-2008 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:03 AM   #2
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Can't you go online and see if the check has cleared? At the very least call the bank and find out if the check has cleared. Many banks don't send actual canceled checks back but provide images online. Bank of America (mine) does, for example. Doing this kind of research yorself will save paying a lawyer to do it. Having a bench warrant is serious stuff, not to be messed around with. One goof up and you get to spend a night or more with the Meth heads and drunks at the Cast Iron Hotel!!
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:24 AM   #3
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How close to the deadline was it when you sent the check? There's often a "lead time" factor involved---if you cut it close, one clerk at the office may have been processing your check while another may have been processing the license suspension paperwork (and upping the ante on your fine).

I don't know all the legal ins and outs, but the first place to start is to set aside a few hours, take a valium and make some phone calls. First rule: DON'T get pissy right off the bat---there will always be time for that later if it's clear they're jackin' you around. Call, tell them who you are, say "How ya doin' today", etc. Soften them up, BE NICE. A lot of times if you can get them on your side initially you'll make progress much faster.

If someone can't help you, ask them who can, and see if they can connect you (or give you the phone number). Ask names and, ideally, write down who told you what. That way, you can use their names and repeat what they told you as you work your way up the ladder.

If you actually did send the check in a timely fashion, odds are good you can resolve things in this manner, but it may take some time and patience. As you said, it's fairly unlikely the check is lost---it probably will (or has) shown up. Tactfully make sure they've looked carefully to make sure it's not hiding somewhere at their office.

Good luck.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:01 AM   #4
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Pay the 2 dollars.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:07 AM   #5
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"Pay the 2 dollars."

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Old 03-16-2008, 08:05 AM   #6
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Obviously, the first thing to do is confirm if the check is still O/S or cleared. If it has been paid to the state, problem over.

If it has not cleared, place a formal stop payment on it and obtain a copy of the SP order.

Send a nice registered letter to the court with a copy of the SP order. Also send a new check for the original amount due. Explain what happened.

Ask nicely if they can accept the payment and drop the new charges.

Be nice and see if they will be nice too.
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:07 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Brucelee
Obviously, the first thing to do is confirm if the check is still O/S or cleared. If it has been paid to the state, problem over.

If it has not cleared, place a formal stop payment on it and obtain a copy of the SP order.

Send a nice registered letter to the court with a copy of the SP order. Also send a new check for the original amount due. Explain what happened.

Ask nicely if they can accept the payment and drop the new charges.

Be nice and see if they will be nice too.
good advice....a nicely worded letter could be the best approach...
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:25 AM   #8
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A well written letter is never a bad idea, though I've too often gotten in reply some form letter again demanding payment and giving additional threats should it not be forthcoming. That can get really frustrating, since it's usually obvious the person sending the reply paid little or no attention to the contents of your letter.

I call first, document who you talked to and what was said, and find out who the letter---if it's needed--should be sent to.
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Frodo
How close to the deadline was it when you sent the check? There's often a "lead time" factor involved---if you cut it close, one clerk at the office may have been processing your check while another may have been processing the license suspension paperwork (and upping the ante on your fine).
I sent the check in a week ahead of time. But still,the deadline to pay it or show up to court was on 3/11,nothing has yet to post to the bank account.
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:03 PM   #10
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:05 PM   #11
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So let me get this straight. According to the paper,if I just pay out the $461 everything will be dropped?
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by blinkwatt
From reading that notice, what I would do now is just contest the original charges for which you were cited, and set a court date within the 15 days that your received that notice. Then, you can go into court and tell the judge what happened. Even if you pay the original fine for the infraction, you still save the extra $300 fine that way, no?
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:19 AM   #13
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"From reading that notice, what I would do now is just contest the original charges for which you were cited, and set a court date within the 15 days that your received that notice. Then, you can go into court and tell the judge what happened. Even if you pay the original fine for the infraction, you still save the extra $300 fine that way, no?"

Posted by Boxtaboy.

I tend to agree with that. Without reading Penal Code section 1214.1, it's hard to know for sure if you're still going to be liable for the $300 'civil assessment' talked about in the first paragraph of the notice should you decide to follow Boxtaboy's advice to 'set a court date no later than 15 days from the date of this notice.' But you've really got nothing to lose:

For one thing, sometimes the law enforcement officer doesn't show, and you move to dismiss the charges, paying nothing. Or, you can always plead 'no contest' at that point and pay the $191 (or is it $161?), hopefully without the $300 tacked on. Obviously, if you go that route and the $300 comes up, you need to make sure they're aware of the fact that you had in fact sent in the check originally in a timely fashion. (Though I'm not sure there's really anyway to prove that if the check hasn't cleared. At least mention names of clerks, etc that you have talked to in an attempt to clear this up.)

If you call to set up a court date, make sure your license suspension action will be put on hold until things are resolved. (You don't want to be driving around illegally.)

I've never done this, but (after hearing your story) I'd be inclined in the future to pay any fines either: (1) in person (where you'll get a receipt); or (2) by certified mail/return receipt requested, so you can prove it was sent; or (3) by credit card on-line, as suggested in the notice, though I'd be curious to know how much the 'convenience fee' was.

Rots of ruck.
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:33 AM   #14
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just curious, why didn't you fight the ticket? failing to stop is usually a points ticket.
If you're under 25 you have to avoid points like the plague. A day off from work to the court to get the ticket downgraded is always worth avoiding the surcharge.

I recently had my ticket thrown out but the idiots in the clerk's office entered a guilty plea and the dmv issued a surcharge. I received this surcharge notice and the suspension notification (10 days into the suspension!) in the SAME BATCH OF MAIL!! I think I spent a solid 7 hours on the phone waiting on hold and was disconnected twice after holding for nearly 45 minutes.

as much of a pain in the arse all that was, still worth it to avoid ANY points on my license. Auto Inusrance companies here in NJ will skin you alive.
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Old 03-17-2008, 03:42 PM   #15
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All is well. I called and they deposited the payment Friday evening and everything is good to go. They told me to disregard the notice.
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Old 03-17-2008, 05:45 PM   #16
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Blinkwatt, good to hear you cleared it up. I suggest that anyone sending any kind of correspondence with govt. to make sure the letter is registered and request a delivery receipt. You then have certifiable history in which to fight back with. It also would help your attorney if it ever got that far. Now party on and mind the stop signs, lights etc.

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Old 03-17-2008, 06:14 PM   #17
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Blinkwatt, good to hear you cleared it up. I suggest that anyone sending any kind of correspondence with govt. to make sure the letter is registered and request a delivery receipt. You then have certifiable history in which to fight back with. It also would help your attorney if it ever got that far. Now party on and mind the stop signs, lights etc.

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Old 03-17-2008, 06:48 PM   #18
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All is well. I called and they deposited the payment Friday evening and everything is good to go. They told me to disregard the notice.
Nothing like a little bureaucracy to brighten your day! Glad it is over and turned out well.
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:20 PM   #19
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All is well. I called and they deposited the payment Friday evening and everything is good to go. They told me to disregard the notice.
I hope you got the name and number of the person you spoke to, otherwise you will be in the same situation again with no proof to validate the verbal conversation you had. I hope that does not happen.
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:25 PM   #20
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I hope you got the name and number of the person you spoke to, otherwise you will be in the same situation again with no proof to validate the verbal conversation you had. I hope that does not happen.
Yes I got the name and number of the person I spoke to.

I also called my uncle who is a Sheriff to verify that my license isn't suspended in the system,he said I'm clear and there aren't any warrants in my name.

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