Sandy man's driver license suspended over 17-year-old citation he *might* owe
(KUTV) Think hard. What were you doing 17 years ago? It's hard to remember, right?
I can tell you what Adam Packard was doing. Court records show he was frequently driving a little too quickly. He racked up a few speeding tickets. He also get nailed with a parking citation or two.
But court records also show that Adam was responsible. We couldn't find a single ticket that Adam didn't pay.
The state driver license division sent Adam a letter telling him he owes $30 for a debt that's apparently been around since 2001. The letter doesn't say what the debt is for and When Adam calls the DLD to ask, he says they can’t tell him.
"If they lost it 17 years ago, and now suddenly they drum that back up again, how do I know that I didn't pay it back then?” Adam says.
It’s a fair question that Adam says the DLD couldn’t answer. So Adam says he refused to pay the debt until they could prove the debt was valid. The DLD responded by suspending his license.
Adam asked Get Gephardt to investigate and I took it to Chris Caras, the boss at the DLD. Caras says they had what he calls, “sufficient evidence” to send Adam the notice, even after 17 years. What they did not seem to have is a hard copy of the citation that led to the fine and the license’s suspension.
So, Caras decided Adam should be let off the hook.
“There are issues associated with the age of it," he said. “Really, as an agency, we try to be fair and look at all the information."
Caras says it can be nearly impossible to track down a hard copy of a 17-year-old citation.
The $30 fine forgiven and the license being reinstated is a nice outcome for Adam, but what about you?
In the time since KUTV began promoting this story, Get Gephardt has heard from others who say they, too, were slapped with letters ordering them to pay off tickets that were more than a decade old.
I asked the Caras how often the DLD tries to collect on really old tickets. Caras couldn't give exact numbers but stated the cases are "few and far between."
Lawyer David Rosenbloom says criminal and civil citations are not encumbered by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In other words, with traffic tickets, there is no time limit on how long the state has to try and collect.
Rosenbloom says he hears from drivers “all the time” who either forgot to pay a ticket or didn’t know they had received one and ultimately have their licenses suspended.
What’s really problematic is the driver often learn all of that after being pulled over for something else and then being arrested on the spot for driving on a revoked license.
Worse, the punishment for driving without a suspended license is an additional suspension of the license for a minimum of three months and up to a year – and usually fines of way more than the original citation.
Rosenbloom says it’s a good idea to always make sure your address is up to date with the DMV so that you are in a position to get a letter like the one Adam received. And when you do get it, don’t’ ignore it.