Sometimes it can be a real pain to find a parking spot, especially during the popular hours of the day. This causes some of us to park in questionable spots and risk getting a parking ticket. However, you shouldn't take them lightly just because a parking ticket carries a smaller fee than other traffic tickets. They can follow you around and make your life miserable if you let them. Let's take a look at exactly how unpaid parking tickets can throw a wrench in your life plans.

1. Late Fees

In California, there is a 21-day deadline from the date it was put into the system for you to pay it off. Not paying within this period makes you subject to late fees. Some parts of California will allow you 14 days after your first late warning. Often times, the late fees may double the price of the ticket.

2. Collections Fee

An additional $21 fee will be assessed to you if you don't pay the ticket within 82 days of issuance. This fee is for the extra time spent trying to get money from you.

3. DMV Hold Fee

If you still haven't resolved your ticket after 82 days, you can no longer engage in DMV transactions. This means you won't be able to register a new vehicle or re-register a vehicle you already have.

  • The DMV can tack on more hold fees.
  • You will be unable to renew a license or do any business at the DMV until the hold has been resolved.

4. Car Boot and Tow

The government may go out looking for a car that has over five or more unpaid parking tickets.

Upon finding your vehicle, they may place a boot on it, making it inoperable.

They may also just impound you car until you pay the tickets, which makes you subject to expensive towing and impound fees.

5. Negative Reports to Credit Bureau

The longer you wait, the more you risk having your credit negatively affected. The government retains the right to report all of your unpaid tickets to the three credit bureaus.

With negative marks on your credit report, it's going to make it harder for you to get a loan or any kind of credit.

When applying for a home loan, you will likely have to pay higher interest rates.

6. Hounding by Bill Collectors

Sometimes, unpaid tickets will be handed over to a collection agency, who will hound you relentlessly until you pay off the tickets.

7. Tarnished Driving Record

Negative marks on your driving record can put you at risk for a license suspension, and if your job requires you to drive (ex. CDL driver), you may lose your job over some measly parking tickets. The tickets will likely be reported to your employer.

If your driving record could use a bit of cleaning up, it may be time to start looking at defensive driving courses. They can even reduce or eliminate the penalties of your parking and traffic tickets. It's much better than the alternative of doing nothing about it, which is going to result in worsened credit, annoying bill collectors, and the possibility of having your car impounded. You only create much more unnecessary stress for yourself by putting your unpaid tickets on the back burner.