What Happens If I Don’t Pay My Parking Tickets in New York City?

What Happens If I Don’t Pay My Parking Tickets in New York City

Anyone who returns to their parked car to find an orange envelope under their windshield wiper knows it’s enough to dampen your mood. At a minimum, you’re looking at a $35 parking fine. And if it’s your unlucky day, the fine for the parking violation you’ve allegedly committed could be as high as $515.

What do you do? Do you put the ticket somewhere safe and make a mental note to pay the parking ticket fines within days of receiving the citation? Or do you treat the ticket like another annoying take-out menu or event flyer that was left on your car? Before you decide to disregard the parking violation, you should consider the repercussions of what happens when an unpaid parking ticket goes unacknowledged for too long. 

Consequences of Not Paying Your Parking Ticket Fines

As tempting as it is to crumple up the ticket, toss it, and pretend it doesn’t exist, it won’t do any good. Regardless of what you do with the physical ticket, its details are already logged into the system and will remain there. Here’s what could happen if you refuse to pay the parking ticket issued to you by the city of New York.

Additional Penalty Fines and Interest – Ignore an unpaid ticket issued by NYC traffic enforcers long enough and the amount you pay could double due to late penalties and collection fees.

You will receive a Pre-Penalty Notice of Unpaid Violation about 20 days after the parking ticket was issued to remind you about your outstanding parking infractions and obligation to pay. If you don’t pay the parking ticket within the first 30 days that it was issued, $10 will be added to the fine amount. Put off paying for 60 days, and another $30 will be added to fine along with the first penalty. And after the 90th day that your parking ticket goes unpaid, an additional $60 is added to the original fine and both previous penalties.

After 100 days, the violation is entered into judgment. Once it is in judgment, a 9% simple interest is added to the total amount due per year. This means that with each month that you don’t pay the ticket fees once it is in judgment, one-twelfth of the 9% interest is added to the amount due.

Vehicle Booting and Towing – Is more than one vehicle registered to your name? When it comes to booting and towing, the NYC Department of Finance (DOF) can combine your debt for all the vehicles registered to you. If the combined debt exceeds $350, the city can put a boot on any one of your cars.

As of November 1st, 2019, the fees for booting are $136 for the boot, $80 for the Sheriff/Marshal execution fee, and 5% of the total amount of all other fines and fees. If you fail to return the boot within 24 hours, you will incur even more charges in the form of $25 late fees for each day you do not return the boot.

Don’t attempt to remove the boot yourself unless you want to be charged and prosecuted for destruction of government property. You may be charged as much as $500 as a replacement fee if the boot on your vehicle becomes damaged.

And if you don’t pay the booting fee and return the boot within 48 hours, your vehicle may be towed. Your booted vehicle will most likely be towed if it is double-parked, blocking a fire hydrant, or other illegal parking zones. It will also likely be towed if you owe more than $350 in parking judgment debt.

So not only are you now obligated to pay the booting fee and other NYC parking ticket fines, but you will now also owe towing fees. The regular tow fee is $185. And if you don’t redeem your car from impound on the same day, you will incur an additional overnight storage fee of $20. You will be charged $20 for each night your vehicle remains at the tow pound.

If you leave your car in the tow pound and allow the ticket fines and fees to pile up for more than ten business days, it will ultimately be auctioned. The goal of the auction is to cover the judgment debt and fees you still owe.

Suspension of NY State Vehicle Registration – Beyond booting and towing your vehicle, the DOF can take other enforcement measures against you. As the registered owner of the car, the DOF can defer or suspend your NY State vehicle registration. Driving with a suspended registration in New York is a misdemeanor offense.

If you are caught driving with a revoked or suspended license, you could be looking at jail time of up to 30 days, even if it is your first offense. A second offense could result in a sentence of up to 90 days in jail. Apart from the conviction ending up on your permanent criminal record, you could be fined between $50 and $100 for driving on a suspended registration.

Sending Your Debt to a Collection Agency – Debt collectors are notorious for being relentless when it comes to collecting debt. They may hound you with calls at home or your place of work. Collection agencies are motivated by incentives and may take aggressive measures to get you to settle your debt. They have investigators who will conduct searches on your assets and employment to determine your ability to repay.

Other Enforcement Actions by the DOF – The city may take other measures if auctioning your vehicle doesn’t cover the entire amount you owe in judgment debt and fees. This can happen because the proceeds of the auction are used to not only pay the judgment debt but also cover expenses like execution fees, booting, towing, impounding, storage, and license plate removal. These expenses even include the costs to advertise the auction and pay the auctioneer.

When the proceeds from your auctioned car are not sufficient, you still owe the city. To get you to pay the remaining amount, the court may issue an order to garnish your wages, particularly if their investigations reveal that you have the ability to repay your debt. The DOF may also restrain your bank accounts or place a lien on assets like real estate property.


Paying or not paying your parking tickets in NYC are not your only options. You can fight your parking tickets and try to have them dismissed. With Ticket Wiper, a penalty lock is placed on your ticket the moment you begin the dispute process via the app, so you don’t incur any additional late fees. Ticket Wiper has an experienced team dedicated to helping you fight the ticket and win. To learn more about how to dispute NYC parking tickets, install the mobile app on your smartphone today. The Ticket Wiper iPhone app is available on the App Store. And for Android users, it is available on Google Play.

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