Client Story – Franco

Franco received a ticket for not having proof of insurance and a broken taillight. He went to the police station and showed them that he had insurance and had fixed the taillight. He left believing his ticket was taken care of, so he was surprised when he received a notice of failure to pay/appear (in court) and a notification that his fine had increased to $1,650. Franco and his family barely survive on $1,500/month, so he could not afford to pay the enormous fine.

He went to traffic court and again showed proof that he had insurance and had fixed the taillight. The clerk told him he would have to see the judge. Franco told the judge he couldn’t afford to pay the ticket and challenged the ticket as invalid because the issuing officer didn’t sign it. The judge demanded, “Do you want to go to jail?” He then told Franco to wait in another section of the courtroom until the judge had heard all of the cases for the day. After the courtroom emptied out, Franco again argued that his unsigned ticket was invalid. The judge agreed to dismiss his ticket for $25.

While Franco’s situation turned out well, he worries about others who are not able to pay their traffic tickets and who are not good at advocating for themselves in court.