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6/23/2007
Alabama to Imprison Motorists Over $15 Parking Tickets
Alabama cities have no way to collect on unpaid parking tickets except imprisoning motorists.

Troy King
A ruling issued earlier this month by Alabama Attorney General Troy King stated that the only way cities can collect on parking tickets in his state is to throw motorists in jail. The opinion came in response to a request from the city of Tuscaloosa to clarify what means it could employ to collect more revenue from motorists who fail to pay their parking tickets.

"A municipality has no authority to impose a late fee on an unpaid parking fine," the opinion stated.

The opinion clarified Alabama law which allows a judge either to imprison a motorist one day for every $15 dollars in unpaid parking tickets or find him guilty of contempt, collect another $50 and send him to jail for five days. Moreover, parking tickets carry a twenty-year statute of limitations, meaning a motorist today could be jailed for a parking offense committed in 1988, but not for a number of far more serious felony crimes including burglary and fraud which fall under a three-year statute of limitations. (Alabama Code Section 15-3-1)

Troy declined to rule directly on whether Tuscaloosa could use a Denver boot to immobilize vehicles, but he did not include the boot in his listing of the only available legal remedies.

The full text of the ruling is available in a 306k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Opinion 2007-103 (Alabama Office of the Attorney General, 6/6/2007)



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