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Dallas Has Basically Been Ignoring Unpaid Traffic Tickets for Months

"Why do I even bother?"
"Why do I even bother?"
Flickr user Phillip Winn

Back in January, when we did very hard math in an effort to identify which cities write the most traffic tickets, Dallas was well off the leader board, writing far fewer tickets per capita than most big suburbs. Now, a bonus, courtesy of WFAA: Whatever traffic tickets police have written in recent months could basically be ignored with impunity.

Since October, 25,000 warrants for unpaid traffic tickets have gone untouched by the city, owing to a new computer system that's keeping municipal judges from signing the warrants. From WFAA:

In the first two months of 2013, Dallas municipal judges signed 21,232 warrants, according to municipal court activity records.

In the first two months of 2014, those same judges signed just 518 warrants, a 98 percent decrease.

The reason: On October 1 last year, Dallas municipal courts computerized their traffic ticket system. The switchover, Judge [Dainel] Solis said, has not let judges create the paperwork needed to sign the warrants.

The average traffic fine can average $200, said attorneys who represent traffic violators in court. The City of Dallas does not net all of that money, but in aggregate, traffic ticket revenues can represent millions of dollars a year for the city.

Solis told the station they've started working through the 25,000 backlog, so if you're sitting on an unpaid ticket and were thinking maybe they'd had a change of heart or got drunk and forgot, no dice. Pay up, or they'll come after you. Someday. Maybe.


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