Some California courts refer old traffic tickets and unpaid fines for minor non criminal offenses to the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) for collection after the Defendant has lost the right to trial. The FTB has the power (according to them) to garnish a Debtor’s wages for these accounts. They assume the collection account is a civil judgment in favor of the State of CA, which the law allows them to collect.
We’ve found over and over that the County Superior Courts and the FTB do not communicate well, and just because you pay one off, does not mean the other will leave you alone.
Even if you’ve paid the FTB for the fine, the court may issue or maintain an arrest warrant or suspend your drivers license with a Failure to Pay Hold.
Here is what you need to know to take care of these problems completely, and avoid an unnecessary trip to jail.
In general, once a citation, fine or court judgment is sent to the FTB, it is out of the courts hands. In most traffic ticket situations, this means there is nothing an accused driver can do – except pay the fine off, and make sure the court and DMV get proof that it is paid. Here is one possible 5 step plan for you to consider:
1. Contact the FTB at (916) 845-4064 and request information on any and all fines or tickets they are collecting from you. You need: a. the fine amount; b. the case #; and c. the name of the courthouse where the case was originally. Search for and resolve all of them together if possible;
2. Pay the fines off with the FTB;
3. Get proof that you paid it off with the FTB, (a receipt listing the case # and payment amount);
4. Send or deliver proof of payment to the courthouse where the fine was originally, and request that they update their records; and finally,
5. Call the California Department of Motor Vehicles Driver Safety Office to verify that they do not show any holds or warrants from the case. Deliver proof of payment to DMV if necessary, pay the DMV drivers license reissuance fee if your drivers license was suspended.
Warning! If your drivers license is suspended due to a failure to appear on a traffic ticket, it does not get reinstated automagically after the court case or collections case ends. DMV requires a Drivers License Re-issuance Fee.
5.1 – Never, ever throw the proof of payment away. Make copies and scatter them in safe places throughout your house and yard in case you need the proof again in the future.