(WSVN) - Can you remember where you were or what you were doing 20 years ago? Most of us can’t. A South Florida man says he’s being asked to pay for a 23-year-old traffic ticket he doesn’t even remember getting. 7News’ Andrew Scheinthal has more on this “Ticket Trouble.”
In 1995, eBay was a start-up, Amazon sold its first book, and everyone was dancing to the macarena.
According to the Broward County Clerk’s Office, Wyndell Smith was caught speeding in Hollywood, going 96 miles an hour in a 55 zone.
Wyndell Smith: “When I called the court, they told me this was from ’95. I cannot remember, honestly.”
The ticket is so old, the Hollywood Police Department no longer has the actual ticket. They directed us to the clerk’s office, but they can’t find it either.
We also pulled Wyndell’s driving history, and there’s no record of the ticket there.
But Wyndell still got a letter warning him to pay — or the matter would be sent to a collection agency.
Wyndell Smith: “How can I pay something when it’s not listed, not even on their file?”
Ted Hollander, The Ticket Clinic: “His odds are good. If there’s no ticket, that’s going to be in his favor.”
Ted Hollander is a lawyer for The Ticket Clinic. He says he has been seeing a number of clients who have cases from decades ago.
Ted Hollander: “It is crazy. What I think is that it comes back to the Clerk of the Court. Why are they sending notices out 20 years after the fact?”
The clerk’s office says the notices are routine, saying, “The clerk periodically conducts a sweep of old accounts, regardless of how old the cases are, and sends out a reminder letter to the party.”
If you get one, don’t panic. You may be able to get it dismissed.
Ted Hollander: “If they think there’s a defense, they should take it to court like anybody should.”
The notices from the clerk are perfectly legal, because there is no statute of limitations on collections — but if you get one, don’t ignore it. You only have 30 days to let the clerk know you intend to fight it — or face more fines.
Wyndell Smith: “If the court says I have to pay, I have to try and bargain.”
Wendell is fighting his $254 ticket. He says, since no one can produce the original, he hopes his chances are pretty good.
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