My girlfriend has three unpaid traffic tickets that total about 1500. She didn't have the money to pay them and now they are in collections and with interest the balance ia now about 3200. She can't afford the 3200 but she can afford to pay the original debt amount. We tried Lexington Law and they were of no help. We also tried to get a settlement amount which was 3000. Any advice to get us started in the right direction would be much appreciated.
DUI / DWI Attorney
A lawyer can file a motion to have the tickets removed from collections and then the court will typically set a mitigation hearing, where the lawyer can present the issue and request removal from collections. You may have her call the court and see if there are any relicensing programs in the area.
They are often court specific. If the tickets are from Benton County here is the Benton County website - use the last extension "Mitigations All Traffic Infractions"
If she owes that amount on tickets and is in collections she may be driving with a suspended license. Be aware that is a crime - a simple misdemeanor which can result in a maximum penalty of up to $1,000 in fines and/or 90 days in jail. Paying off the tickets will remove the suspension at the Department of Licensing level, but that may take a few days of processing. If she is driving with a suspended license, a police officer can merely run here plate, see the suspension, and pull her over. It is one of the most commonly charges offenses in Washington because people get caught in the web of collections and cannot dig themselves out.
The courts here realize people cannot afford to pay collection fees and they also are understanding the ramifications of the same people being charged criminally for not having money to pay their fines. We have recently been able to remove old tickets from collections and have requested contested hearings in some of the matters which have resulted in dismissals. So I think it is worth contacting a lawyer in your area. Often consultations are free. At minimum, have her contact the court and see what the options there are.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
You don't need a lawyer, although it would be easier. Go to the DOL and get a copy of her driving abstract with the list of unpaid tickets. Contact the court the tickets were filed in. Ask the court if you can have the tickets pulled from collections. Sometimes this can be done at the court clerk's office and sometimes you have to set a hearing in front of a judge to ask him/her. This will take them away from the collections agency, dropping all the interest charges, and put them back within the court's jurisdiction. Then she can make payments to the court on the original amount or close to it. Once they have been pulled and set to payments in the court, the hold the ticket has on her license will be lifted and she can get her license back. She has to do this with every court she has tickets from. Not all courts will do this, some make you use a relicensing program, which basically accomplishes the same thing. She can usually only do this once, so if she has them pulled from collections and stops paying, they will go back to collections, re-suspend her license, and she will not be able to have them pulled again. $1500 isn't that substantial, so it shouldn't be too hard to accomplish this. Good luck!
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