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Do Foreigners Have to Pay Tickets?

Old 08-17-09, 08:51 AM
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ri_us
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Do Foreigners Have to Pay Tickets?

My friend, who is not an American but is here on a student visa, got a ticket for riding abreast of another cyclist this weekend in a town in New York State. He has no plans to stay here for the long term but may like to apply for a US driver's license. Does he have to pay this ticket?
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Old 08-17-09, 08:59 AM
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Old 08-17-09, 09:07 AM
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I would resolve this before he leaves. Whether that is by paying it or disputing it is up to him. It would be a nasty surprise to have this come back and bite him. As an immigrant I can confirm that they like to take a pretty close look at you. Wouldn't be worth the risk in my opinion.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:22 AM
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Piermont ?
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Old 08-17-09, 09:30 AM
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You can't ride two abreast in NY? WTF! And the cop is nothing but a bully with a badge with nothing better to do typifying the stereotype nicely.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
You can't ride two abreast in NY? WTF! And the cop is nothing but a bully with a badge with nothing better to do typifying the stereotype nicely.
You CAN ride 2 abreast in Connecticut, look up the actual law online (I did). The wording is something like:

Bicycle riders may ride 2 abreast providing they are not impeding the flow of traffic. Bicycle riders may not ride more than 2 abreast.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
You CAN ride 2 abreast in Connecticut, look up the actual law online (I did). The wording is something like:

Bicycle riders may ride 2 abreast providing they are not impeding the flow of traffic. Bicycle riders may not ride more than 2 abreast.
All the officer has to say in that case is that you were impeding the flow of traffic. It would be your word against theirs.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by lukasz View Post
All the officer has to say in that case is that you were impeding the flow of traffic. It would be your word against theirs.
True ... and if the riders actually were blocking traffic then the cop was right .... depends on the situation. We got yelled at by a cop for riding 2 abreast last year. But it was early morning and there was not a car to be seen.
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Old 08-17-09, 10:13 AM
  #9  
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Tickets...citations...are often an "Agreement to Appear". One can pay the fine or bail and eliminate the need to appear. Potentially escalating an infraction to "failure to appear" and a bench warrant is not a good idea.

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Old 08-17-09, 11:00 AM
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My uncle got mailed a ticket from Canada with a picture of his car driving on the highway and a speeding ticket enclosed. Being a smart arse, he mailed back a polaroid of the cash he was supposed to pay. The next week he got another letter from up north. It was a second copy of the ticket, this time with a photograph of handcuffs. He paid the money.
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Old 08-17-09, 11:11 AM
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If he REALLY doesn't want to pay it, and he REALLY wants a license, he should get a license IMMEDIATELY in another state.

He should be aware that most jurisdictions ding your credit pretty bad, after entering a default judgement after he doesn't show. Around here, just showing up in court gets tickets cut by 40% or so.

I have friends with unpaid tickets, and they just avoid that county. Their international travel hasn't been hampered, but of course they're US citizens.

It's probably a good idea for him to avoid the jurisdiction in which the ticket was given from now on.

Keep in mind that every state/county/municipality can handle such matters in different ways.

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Old 08-17-09, 11:33 AM
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He can plead "Not Guilty".
By the way .... was he blocking traffic ?
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Old 08-17-09, 11:38 AM
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Post updates. I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out.
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Old 08-17-09, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by TommyL View Post
My uncle got mailed a ticket from Canada with a picture of his car driving on the highway and a speeding ticket enclosed. Being a smart arse, he mailed back a polaroid of the cash he was supposed to pay. The next week he got another letter from up north. It was a second copy of the ticket, this time with a photograph of handcuffs. He paid the money.
Sweet.
http://www.snopes.com/autos/law/handcuff.asp
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Old 08-17-09, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by TommyL View Post
My uncle got mailed a ticket from Canada with a picture of his car driving on the highway and a speeding ticket enclosed. Being a smart arse, he mailed back a polaroid of the cash he was supposed to pay. The next week he got another letter from up north. It was a second copy of the ticket, this time with a photograph of handcuffs. He paid the money.
Sweet. More of the same story:

http://www.snopes.com/autos/law/handcuff.asp
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Old 08-17-09, 02:26 PM
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Haha! Makes me wonder if my uncle was full of bs when he told the story.
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Old 08-17-09, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by TommyL View Post
My uncle got mailed a ticket from Canada with a picture of his car driving on the highway and a speeding ticket enclosed. Being a smart arse, he mailed back a polaroid of the cash he was supposed to pay. The next week he got another letter from up north. It was a second copy of the ticket, this time with a photograph of handcuffs. He paid the money.


if he doesn't have an SSN or other unique ID tied to him on the ticket then it may not come back, but likely it will have an address or some sort of loosly-coupled link. i would resolve this to be on the safe-side, but ultimately it's up to him.

i did this with a college i was planning on going to. they charged $100 tickets for parking without a permit and i racked up over $500 in parking fines when i didn't go there. i got accepted and wanted to register my car, but remembering the tickets i changed my license plate for $16...problem solved. they didn't have a link to the state's dmv though - which saved me.

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Old 08-17-09, 06:06 PM
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They could ban the guy from re-entering the US quite easily if the ticket went unpaid for a long time.
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Old 08-17-09, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Treefox View Post
They could ban the guy from re-entering the US quite easily if the ticket went unpaid for a long time.
They could, but as of last year, "they" were not yet doing this kind of thing for minor traffic tickets. They can and will ding your credit for 7 years and if you're a wage earner, they can and will garnish your wages for traffic and even parking tickets.
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Old 08-18-09, 02:11 AM
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He needs to be very careful with this one... if the ticket goes to collection (which it eventually will if left unpaid), it could be grounds for denying him extension to his student visa (I doubt the current visa will be revoked though...). It would also make it quite a bit more difficult for him to apply for residency in the future (longer time, more complication, higher lawyer fees... i.e. pay the darn ticket and save the money down the road!).

His other option is to contest the ticket, which will really only cost him the transportation/parking costs. No loss of income since he can't work on a student visa anyway...
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Old 08-18-09, 03:48 AM
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I got a ticket for a U turn in California about 11 years ago. I told the female officer I was leaving for a flight that day, in a few hours and showed her my airline icket, she told me It was up to me and stay and go to court or leave for home on a plane. I threw the ticket in the bin at the airport.

I continued to travel to the USA for work about 3-4 times each year up until 2 years ago and thats that. Never heard anything about it ever again.

I was once emailed a parking fine from a rental car company in California, they wanted me to pay it, so I did.
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Old 08-18-09, 07:49 AM
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This should be in A&S.

NYS Law...

Section 1234. Riding on roadways, shoulders, bicycle or in-line skates lanes and bicycle or in-line skates paths.

(a) Upon all roadways, any bicycle or in-line skates shall be driven either on a usable bicycle or in-line skates lane or, if a usable bicycle or in-line skates lane has not been provided, near the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway or upon a usable right-hand shoulder in such a manner as to prevent undue interference with the flow of traffic except when preparing for a left turn or when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that would make it unsafe to continue along near the right-hand curb or edge. Conditions to be taken into consideration include, but are not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, in-line skates, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or traffic lanes too narrow for a bicycle or person on in-line skates and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane.

(b) Persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast. Persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a shoulder, bicycle or in-line skates lane, or bicycle or in-line skates path, intended for the use of bicycles or in-line skates may ride two or more abreast if sufficient space is available, except that when passing a vehicle, bicycle or person on in-line skates, or pedestrian, standing or proceeding along such shoulder, lane or path, persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates shall ride, skate, or glide single file. Persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a roadway shall ride, skate, or glide single file when being overtaken by a vehicle.

(c) Any person operating a bicycle or skating or gliding on in-line skates who is entering the roadway from a private road, driveway, alley or over a curb shall come to a full stop before entering the roadway.
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Old 08-18-09, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
True ... and if the riders actually were blocking traffic then the cop was right .... depends on the situation. We got yelled at by a cop for riding 2 abreast last year. But it was early morning and there was not a car to be seen.
My point was that even though you can ride two abreast, that allowance in the law doesn't matter because whether you violated it or not is completely open to the officer's interpretation.
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Old 08-18-09, 09:08 AM
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Pay the ticket. While most likely they won't do anything if your friend doesn't, he does not want to be the person they decide to make an example of. I knew a guy when I was in high school who had a bad history of reckless driving, got in a wreck where two folks were killed and while it was his fault, he was not really negligent, and he ended up getting 25 years.
Extreme example I know, but you should always approach legal stuff expecting that worse case scenario is what you are looking at.
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Old 08-18-09, 09:53 AM
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Thanks for all the practical advice! He decided to plead guilty via mail and pay the ticket.

It was in a little town between Piermont and Nyack called Grand View on Hudson. Officer Joseph Powers was the officer. He's about 50 years old, 5'9", slightly over weight, has salt and pepper hair and a mustache. I'm not disputing that my friend was in the wrong. But when the cop found out that my friend isn't American he started talking so fast I had trouble understanding him. He fired questions like "How much is that bike worth?" and "Do you want me to take you to jail? Understand that?" He also claimed that my friend's visa appeared to be fraudulent and that his international driver's license is "useless here." Both are wrong (I thought he would have gotten that from the word "international"). After my friend and I didn't respond to any of his fear tactics he changed his tune and said, "I don't want to scrape one of you off the road out there." We didn't respond to that either. I was amazed that he tried to scare us, then played the safety card.

I would encourage anyone who rides there to be sure to put your foot down at red lights, ride in a paceline and thank Officer Powers in a loud and booming voice for "protecting" us from being hit by cars by enforcing this rule. I don't know where we'd be without people like him.
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