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What Happens If You Don’t Pay A Parking Ticket?

What Happens If You Don’t Pay A Parking Ticket?

Who doesn’t hate finding a parking ticket tucked under the windshield wiper while being away for barely 5 minutes? And the worst part is that you never saw that coming.

There are lots of reasons behind issuing a parking ticket by the concerned authorities.

For example, maybe you accidentally parked your vehicle at a non-designated place or outside the delineated parking space.

Irrespective of the violation made from your end, the authorities wouldn’t spare even a second in issuing you the parking fine you can’t zoom past without paying.

Even if you think of avoiding paying the fine, brace yourself to welcome inevitable harsh consequences, which I’ll discuss in the below sections.

So, let’s what will/can happen with you in case you don’t pay a parking ticket.

What Happens If You Don’t Pay A Parking Ticket?

Ignoring a parking ticket issued even for the slightest issue can aggravate the situation for you.

While the punishment or fine will vary by your city or state, the following penalties will surely toil you hard.

The fine amount will increase each time.

Every parking ticket has a subsequent deadline to pay the fine, ranging from 2 weeks to a month in some cities and states.

No matter what the reason is, failing to pay the fine within falls under another severe offense. As a result, you will see your earlier fine getting increased!

For example, in California, the offender has to shell out an additional fine of $300 for failing to pay the parking fine within the attached deadline.

The authorities can tow away your car

In case you have more than two unpaid parking tickets to your name, the authorities hold the right to tow away your vehicle even if you will park it legally the next time they’ll find you or your car.

This action isn’t usually common for offenders with only a single unpaid parking ticket.

The state can even seize your vehicle

In case of outstanding parking ticket violations and unpaid fines, the state can even seize your vehicle permanently and auction it to recover the fine amount you owe to them.


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You may have to go to the court

Some cities like Memphis in Tennessee issues parking tickets with court dates. If you pay the fine within the stipulated deadline, you need not appear in front of the court.

However, in another scenario, your court appearance is a must for failing to pay the fine within the deadline. Now, if you even miss the court date, you can go to jail!

You may face issues at the time of renewing your car registration

Yes, suppose you have outstanding parking fines against your name.

In that case, the city’s DMV could either suspend your vehicle’s registration even before its expiry date or refuse to renew it upon expiration until you clear all the pending parking fines.

These are some of the expected consequences of not paying the parking fine on time.

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What are the consequences of unpaid parking tickets?

The following are the most common consequences of an unpaid parking ticket.

  • If you have ignored the parking ticket fine for too long, the local court will set a date with you.
  • If you miss the court date or notice, they might issue a bench warrant against you. After this, the police will hold the right to stop and arrest you the next time. However, this doesn’t take place in most places in the USA.
  • The police can boot or tow away your car even if you park it legally.
  • For ignoring the parking ticket for too long, you can get your driving license suspended, even if it’s from outside the state.

Depending upon your state or city, not paying the parking ticket on time can invite further action besides these.

What happens when you don’t pay a parking fine?

If you don’t pay a parking fine, you can expect anything like:

  • Your initial fine will double or triple up every 30, 60, or 90 days.
  • Vehicle booting or towing.
  • There will be a suspension of your driving license or registration. In the latter, you may also face difficulty in renewing the expired registration.
  • Bench warrant.
  • Your fine getting added to your debt collection ultimately harming your credit score in the long run.
  • In the worst case, you will see your vehicle insurance rate increase.


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What happens if you ignore a parking charge notice?

You should know that there are two types of parking tickets.

First, a parking ticket issued by the police or council workers is the penalty charge notice, and second, a ticket issued by a private company like a school, college, or even a hospital is the parking charge notice.

Talking about the latter, no private company holds any right to ask for a penalty for parking.

They, however, can charge you for parking to prevent anybody from using their parking space, leaving others empty-handed who have to park in their parking.

For example, hospital parking fits right in this context.

Even if you don’t pay their parking charge, they might take you to any local court (that’s rare) where you can defend yourself and get the decision on your side.


Parking tickets are a sort of parking fine you have to pay within a deadline mentioned on them. Not doing the same can result in a series of consequences, as described above.

However, you must know about the two categories of parking tickets.

First, the penalty charge ticket/notice issued by the police or council workers that you shouldn’t ignore at any cost as they hold legal rights to initiate legal action against you.

Second, the parking charge notice issued by a private company that you can miss or ignore without inviting any serious trouble.

However, it’s not a good practice to avoid any parking ticket. You must pay the parking fine on time to avoid even the slightest problem soon for not abiding by the same.