Q: Can a debt collection agency collect a debt for a 40 year old traffic ticket issued by the state of Maryland?
This ticket was paid but I have no proof as it was 40 years ago
Pursuant to Courts & Judicial (CJ) Proceedings Code, 5-107, "a prosecution or suit for a fine, penalty, or forfeiture shall be instituted within one year after the offense was committed."
Under CJ 7-505, "Unpaid and undischarged fines and unpaid costs may be levied, executed on, and collected in the same manner as judgments in civil cases."
If the fine amount was reduced to a money judgment against you within the applicable statute of limitations, then such a judgment in favor of the State of Maryland does not expire.
However, I would be suspicious that a private debt collector claiming to be representing the State on an unpaid fine of 40 years ago may, in fact, be a scam.
A: Let me add to my answer as follows: All traffic citations appear on your Maryland driver's license, at least all moving and equipment/registration violations (perhaps not parking tickets). Therefore, go online to the MVA website and download your complete driving record and see if it shows on there. An unpaid moving citation would have resulted in suspension of your driver's license. An unpaid equipment or registration offense would have resulted in non-renewal or suspension of the vehicle registration. The only way to remedy those suspensions would have been to pay the fine at the District Court. All of those actions would appear on your driver's record. In addition, payment of a moving violation that carries points would show assessment of the points upon payment. For a ticket 40 years old that carried points, the points would appear along with an asterisk, showing that those points have expired and are no longer counted against your license. In addition, you can run your name on the Maryland Judiciary Case Search online docket system and see if the citation appears there. 40 years ago, an unpaid ticket was automatically scheduled for trial without a request, so there would be an entry in the District Court under your name for a traffic case with the citation number and a disposition date. The result of the trial would also appear. Since the ticket predates the start of the electronic docketing system, there is a chance a case that old was not added to the online database, so another option woud be to go to the District Court in the jurisdiction where the ticket was issued and ask the clerk's office to look up whether there was ever a case scheduled on an unpaid citation, and get the printout of the result.
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