At the time being young and dumb I decided to listen to the advice of my friends and not pay the ticket, it was 175 I believe. They said "oh well you'll have a warrant in TX but we will never be back and it will go away in 5 yrs. Recently a collection agency has been contacting me for payment which is now up to $585. Now I'm starting to worry and just want to put this behind me. $585 for having an open beer in a town that couldn't survive without spring break money is outrageous in my opinion and I hope I won't have to pay that amount. Some people have now told me it can cross state lines and they can take your license. I know the collection agency doesn't have legal power and are probably just trying to scare me into paying an unjust amount of money, any help would be appreciated, thanks
General Practice Lawyer
The first question has to be why didn't you take of it back then? What most likely happened in Texas is they entered a "guilty" when you failed to appear. The collection agency will probably cut a deal, but you won't be successful arguing that Texas has somehow robbed you due to the big fine.
Your initial question asked if the charges could follow you. Looks like you have your answer!
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.
Criminal Defense Attorney
That is the price one pays for being young and dumb (your own words) and for listening to "friends.". If the Texas MIP /Open Container law is entered in your Texas DMV Record it could follow you when you have a problem in Colorado. Check with the CO DMV to see if Texas has reported your MIP/Open Container "conviction".
As to the fine, yes the collection agency can collect it from you, if they choose, by filing a suit and seeking a judgment against you. Once they have a judgment they can start agggressive collections by finding out where you work and garnishing your wages, finding out where you bank and placing liens and levy on your bank account. Will they do that. It depends on the collection agency. The Collection agency may cut a deal with you if you pay up.
Note that the collection agency may also report you to all the credit reporting agencies. If they do it will impact your credit worthiness and ability to get credit. Most aggressive collection agencies will report your delinquent payment to the credit bureaus and still come after you for the money.
You do need to check with a Texas DMV lawyer to see if your non payment of the court fines and costs are reportable to Texas DMV and by whom?
All the Best
PS: Do not blame the town or that you were doing them a favor by visiting that town when in fact you did break their laws. I am sure that town in Texas appreciates the sudden influx of young people to their town on Spring Break. However, it does not sanction anyone breaking that town's laws. Further, being on Spring Break does not entitle or grant permission to young peope and "underage" to violate the minimum age for drinking laws. If young people do not like such laws then they can organize to change it but till then the existing laws must be obeyed. Failing to obey results in fines, if caught. Unfortunately for you you just got caught. I know you are upset that the amount is so large but that is how collection agencies work. They tack on their fees and costs to collect fines owed by law breakers and pay it to the Town's treasury. Had you just paid the amount in the first instance you would not be in this situation. You did try to game or play the system and now it comes back hitting you like a tornado. I do empathize with you. But look at the brighter side and you and other young people can learn from your experience.
All The Best
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