Legal Question in Administrative Law in California

Can a collection agency collect on a 5 year old parking ticket?

Almost 5 years ago I received a parking ticket on a

expired parking meter in San Francisco. I may have protested the ticket, simply paid it, or paid to the DMV with a bunch of other unpaid tickets. In any case, I do not currently have records dating that far back. I have been contacted by a collection agency

that the ticket remains unpaid and that I have to pay for it to them. Isn't the city required to submit

unpaid citations to the DMV for collection? Is there not a statute of limitations in this kind of matter?

And finally, without records what can I do to avoid

paying this collection agency?

Asked on 7/25/00, 1:07 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Barry Jorgensen The Law Office of Barry S. Jorgensen

Re: Can a collection agency collect on a 5 year old parking ticket?

Even if you can't prove you paid the ticket, you have the defense of latches. This is a legal doctrine that holds that defendants are protected from liability for claims that are too old, precisely because records can't be kept forever, witnesses disappear, and events become fuzzy in time. Also you have the defense of the running of the Statute of Limitations that applies to parking tickets. Look in the California Vehicle Code index under Statute of Limitations for the particular time period municipalities have to bring an action to collect an unpaid ticket.

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Answered on 9/14/00, 12:09 am

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