Can traffic tickets be discharged in a chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Asked 6 months ago - Gig Harbor, WA

I have several traffic tickets that are old and have been given over to a collection agency. I wanted to find out if they can be discharged in a chapter 7 BK so that I can get my license back. The license is currently suspended until all fees are paid, and I can't make the money to pay the fees unless I have a license- catch 22.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Richard D. Granvold

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    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . First, you have the duty to list all debts including traffic infractions or crimes. Second, traffic tickets are NOT discharged in a ch 7 but are in a ch 13. You will see that difference on my website under ch 7 vs ch 13. If it is a traffic criminal fine it is not discharged in either. We prepare all within 1-2 days and if a ch 13 you can obtain your license back in one day normally! It does not matter whether they are "given over" to a collection company which most of your are probably with Alliance One in Gig Harbor also, depending on where the tickets originated. But the law is easy. Tickets not discharged in ch 7 and hence no license . That collection company can agree with you to pay so much down and then release the hold but interest keeps accruing also whereas in a ch 13 interest will not. So if you want to avoid the "odd colored lights in your rear view mirror" file a ch 13 obtain your license and move on! I have helped over 8,000 persons file in Western Washington both CH 7 and CH 13.so if you want help...call!

  2. Christine B. Adams

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    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . In some cases if these tickets are under the "criminal code", the benefit of a chapter 7 is that you will receive an automatic stay. During the time of the bankruptcy protection, it is possible to have your license reinstated-if the only reason it is suspended is the tickets. However, as already stated, these types of debts are not able to be discharged in a chapter 7. Only a chapter 13 can discharge traffic. So the best you will be able to do, if you are able to do it, in a Chapter 7 is 4 or 5 months to pay off the tickets. As you can see there is a lot to determine, therefore sit down with an attorney and discuss your options.

  3. Andrew T. Velonis

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . Good question, and I have two answers: "yes" and "no". Seriously, here's the scoop: first of all, the tickets themselves can't be discharged, so if you do not have a disposition in the court from which they were issued, they will continue to screw up your licence. As for the fines, technically, fines are not supposed to be dischargeable, but a lot of municipalities and collection agencies don't know that (Oops, I jsut spilled the beans!) Others just don't care, because its only a few hundred bucks here and there. So, I have had clients include tickets in their general unsecured debts, no one squawks and there you go.

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