Clark & Washington

Will Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Help with Traffic Tickets?

When filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are certain items that can and can’t be discharged. Having a thorough understanding of what can be included in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will help you make an educated decision about whether this is the type of bankruptcy that is best for your particular situation.

Can My Traffic Tickets Be Discharged Under a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

The short answer is no. The Bankruptcy Code forbids the discharge of civil penalties and/or criminal fines. That means any debts owed to a government entity cannot be discharged. However, you do have other options. Therefore, you should talk with an experienced bankruptcy attorney for advice regarding your particular situation.

Can My Traffic Tickets Be Discharged Under a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

The short answer is maybe. It depends on whether your traffic tickets were civil or criminal in nature. If your tickets are for a criminal traffic offense, then you won’t be able to discharge them under a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, if your traffic tickets are civil (non-criminal) in nature, then yes, they can be discharged under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

What Is Considered a Civil Traffic Penalty?

A civil penalty is one that is for a minor offense. For example, tickets for speeding, parking tickets or failing to stop at a stop sign are all considered minor offenses.

What Is Considered a Criminal Traffic Offense?

A criminal traffic offense is a violation that might subject you, upon conviction, to incarceration. For example:

What if I Have a Criminal Traffic Ticket?

If you have a criminal traffic ticket that cannot be discharged in either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can still receive a limited amount of protection from being sent to jail for not paying your tickets. It can also protect against your driver’s license being revoked while your Chapter 13 bankruptcy is being processed. This is an option because the Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stop your creditors from collecting during the course of that process.

If you would like more information about filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, please contact Clark & Washington Attorneys and Counselors at Law today for a free consultation.

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