Do you have an old unpaid ticket in Seattle? It's about to get more expensive
If you have any old unpaid traffic or parking tickets from the city of Seattle, you have until Monday, Jan. 30 to avoid a late fee.
You can pay your tickets here. Right now, there are no fees to pay your ticket with a credit or debit card.
The late fee is expected to affect 350,000 unpaid tickets in Seattle.
The city is bringing back its default late fee program. It was put on hiatus in March 2020 due to the pandemic.
If you have unpaid tickets and miss the Jan. 30 deadline, your parking ticket can increase by $25. Traffic camera tickets will increase by $52.
“First, find out if you have unpaid tickets," said Gary Ireland, a spokesperson for the Seattle Municipal Court. "Then talk to the city about your options.”
Ireland added that city officials will be understanding if you have forgotten about that ticket.
“Just give us a call,” he said.
If you are struggling to pay the initial fee, you can contact the city and ask for a hearing, a payment plan, or do community service instead. You can take a closer look at your options here.
Ireland said the quickest way to get help, especially if you have multiple tickets, is to call the city, 206-684-5600. You can also send an email to SMC_PublicSvcs@seattle.gov, or fill out an outline form.
Jerry Stein, the Seattle Municipal Clerk’s payment manager, said the city will send out letters to unpaid ticket holders over the next eight weeks to notify them of the added late fee.
People with unpaid tickets will also receive a letter if they requested a hearing and missed it. If tickets and late fees are not paid 30 days after receiving a notice, the case is forwarded to collections.
Stein said anyone who gets that notice should contact the city "promptly." He said they may still be able to remove the fee.
“We understand it's been a long time. Some of these tickets may have been misplaced,” Stein said. “We intend to be pretty generous,” about taking off late fees and giving people options.
If you lost your ticket, or unsure if you have unpaid tickets use the Seattle Municipal Court Portal. Click "vehicle information" on the menu on the right, then search for tickets using your license plate number or your car's VIN number.
While this may seem like a negative for those with unpaid tickets, Stein reminds drivers and residents that money collected goes toward an array of city programs, including improving pedestrian safety, traumatic brain injury funds, and auto theft prevention funds.