DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Opinion

August 22, 2013

About the Law: Bankruptcy doesn't cover parking tickets

(Continued)

The government wrote the bankruptcy code, so we can’t be surprised that it protects many units of the government. Bankruptcy Code section 523(a)(7) excludes debts from discharge “to the extent such debt is for a fine, penalty, or forfeiture payable to and for the benefit of a governmental unit.” So, the common view is that parking tickets survive Chapter 7.

You can make a valid argument that if this parking ticket is not a fine, and is subject to civil enforcement only as a revenue measure rather than a police power matter, then it would have been discharged.

Meanwhile, if you fail to pay the ticket, there is the possibility a bench warrant could be issued and the next time you get stopped for a broken tail light or anything else, you could have problems. Unless the ticket is for a high amount, as a practical matter, it might be best to pay it.

As a final note, in a Chapter 13, parking tickets are treated like all other unsecured debt and can be discharged.

Andrew Myers of Derry has law offices in Derry and North Andover. He is a member of the American Association for Justice and the New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association. Send questions to andrew@attorney-myers.com.

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