Traffic Tickets

and Bankruptcy



Are you in financial straits because you owe money you can’t afford to pay. Traffic tickets, speeding tickets, or parking tickets can be some of the mountain of bills that you simply do no have the income to pay. Do you find your situation growing worse every day as late fees and fines get added to your bill? You can lose your drivers’ license because of unpaid car tickets.

It’s a vicious cycle!

Every week people come into our Providence bankruptcy law office weighed down with hundreds, even thousands of dollars of traffic ticket debt and fines they received when they couldn’t afford to pay up. It’s not usually their only financial problem; they may also have credit card debt and be behind on car payments or mortgage payments.

If parking tickets and traffic tickets, fines and penalties are haunting you, contact Rhode Island bankruptcy lawyer John Simonian or call 401-941-4800. Don’t wait until the last minute. If you haven’t lost your drivers’ license yet, he may be able to prevent that from happening. Since 1992, the law office of John Simonian has helped thousands of clients file bankruptcy so they could keep their cars from repossession and licenses from suspension.

” Don’t let shame or fear keep you tied to unmanageable debt “


There is no simple answer to that question. It depends on the type of ticket and it depends on the type of bankruptcy you want to file.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy does NOT allow for the discharge of “a fine, penalty or forfeiture” payable to a governmental unit. Because your traffic ticket or parking ticket would be payable to the government jurisdiction where you received the ticket, you cannot discharge this kind of debt in Chapter 7.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy – which adjusts and discharges your debts over time – does allow you to include traffic ticket debt in your bankruptcy filing. There is one important condition, however: your ticket and fines must not be related to a criminal offense.


A traffic infraction is the least serious type of ticket. It could be for a non-moving violation like an expired parking meter, parking in a handicapped spot, or a loud muffler. An infraction could be for a non-dangerous moving violation like failing to use a turn signal, speeding, failing to stop for traffic, failing to yield to a pedestrian, or turning into a wrong lane.

More serious traffic violations are misdemeanor or felony criminal offenses: violations like driving under the influence, reckless driving, excessive speeding, or any violation in which someone was injured. You cannot discharge fines or penalties for felony or misdemeanor criminal traffic violation in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a ticket is for an infraction or a misdemeanor. Some offenses can be charged either way. Bring a copy of tickets and court documents with you when you talk with bankruptcy attorney John Simonian so he can properly advise you on whether they can be discharged in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.


Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which wipes out your debt all at once, Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharges your debt over time, usually 3 to 5 years. So will you have to wait 5 years to get your driver’s license back?

No. When you hire Mr. Simonian as your bankruptcy attorney, he will work with state or local traffic court authorities as well as bankruptcy court officers to try to get your drivers’ license reinstated as quickly as possible.

Call John Simonian to get immediate legal help so you can get back on your feet and into the drivers’ seat. Contact him online or call 401-941-4800.

From offices in Pawtucket, bankruptcy attorney John Simonian represents clients throughout Rhode Island, including residents of Providence, Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, East Providence, Woonsocket, Central Falls, and West Warwick.