Can Unpaid Parking Tickets Suspend Your Driver’s License?

Unpaid parking tickets can lead to driver's license suspension, but state laws vary on the number of tickets and the waiting period required.
Written by Claire Beaney
Reviewed by Bellina Gaskey
Unpaid parking tickets can result in your driver’s license being suspended, but the number of tickets needed and the waiting period before the suspension will differ from state to state.
  • Unpaid parking tickets can cause a license suspension. Driving while your license is suspended is against the law and could get you arrested.
  • Unpaid parking tickets by themselves won't hurt your driving record, but a suspended license certainly will.
  • Parking tickets and traffic tickets shouldn’t be mixed up, as they involve different violations and can result in vastly different consequences.
Let’s jump in and review the consequences of parking tickets on your driving record (and driver’s license status) and how they differ from traffic tickets.
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Can unpaid parking tickets result in a suspended license?

Unpaid parking tickets (like other unpaid fines) can lead to your driver's license being suspended.
No matter where you live, failing to pay traffic tickets can and will eventually lead to a suspended license from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The length of time that passes before the suspension is triggered and the number of tickets that can accumulate vary by state.
People often forget about their parking tickets because they don't seem like a big deal or something that requires your immediate attention. Moving can also complicate matters if parking tickets are not mailed to your current address.
You may also miss the notice that your license has been suspended and not realize it until you’re pulled over by police. 
The simplest solution is to pay for your parking tickets as soon as possible after receiving them. In some states, if you ignore a single ticket for long enough, they can suspend your driver's license.
A driver’s license suspension is a severe issue that can be difficult to resolve. It’s not cheap, either. The costs can add up quickly due to license reinstatement fees and other fines. While paying a parking fine right away may feel inconvenient, it'll be much easier than the alternative.

Do unpaid parking tickets impact your driving record?

So, does an
unpaid parking ticket affect your driving record
? Unpaid tickets themselves won’t hurt your driving record, but it’s still in your best interest to pay them off right away.
Parking violations are always non-moving violations, even if the penalties vary from state to state or city to city. Since a parking ticket has no bearing on a person's ability to drive a motor vehicle safely, it will not be included in your driving record.
However, you won’t be able to renew your
vehicle registration
at your local DMV until you pay any outstanding parking tickets. If you do not renew your registration and keep driving, you will have to deal with a driver’s license suspension—which will appear on your driving record.

Traffic tickets vs. parking tickets

Traffic tickets and parking tickets are quite different.
As the name suggests, parking tickets are given when a car is parked in a restricted area or in a way that isn't permitted. A parking violation won't affect your driving record, but that doesn't make it any less of an inconvenience.
In addition to losing your driving privileges, getting a parking ticket can lead to fines, having your car impounded or rendered inoperable, and even lower your credit score if a collections agency gets involved. 
Here are a few basic examples of when you may receive a parking ticket:
  • You park in a place that isn't permitted, like a bus stop, in front of a fire hydrant, in a driveway, or in front of a garage
  • You use a sidewalk for parking (unless specifically allowed by signs)
  • You park in an intersection, on a railroad crossing, or in a crosswalk
  • You double park
On the other hand, traffic tickets are issued when drivers violate laws regulating vehicle operation on streets and highways. Traffic tickets come when you commit a moving violation, which is obviously different from a non-moving violation causing a parking ticket.
Infractions such as speeding, running a red light or stop sign, following too closely, making an illegal U-turn, or changing lanes without signaling are frequent causes of traffic violations.
A traffic ticket isn't the only thing you’ll face if you commit a more serious offense classified as a misdemeanor—this may result in a fine, a jail sentence, or both.
The most common misdemeanor crimes are
driving under the influence (DUI)
, driving with a license that has been suspended or revoked, going 40 mph or more over the speed limit, and
leaving the scene of an accident
MORE: The traffic tickets that have the greatest effect on your car insurance rates
“My speeding ticket raised my insurance to $310/month.
got me full comprehensive coverage on two vehicles for $144/month through Progressive. I definitely recommend giving them a try.” —Brandon D.
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Though unpaid parking tickets don’t show up on your driving record, they could still come back to bite you in the form of a suspended license or a lower credit score.
Car insurance companies look at your “credit-based insurance score” and your driving record to determine your rate. If an unpaid parking ticket eventually affects your credit, it could indirectly affect your car insurance costs.
No, parking tickets do not go on your personal driving record. Because they aren’t considered a moving violation—which reflects on your ability as a safe driver—they won’t impact your driving record.
No. As of 2021, the Driver's License Suspension Reform Act eliminated license suspensions for failure to pay traffic fines and established flexible payment options for low-income drivers in the state.
Drivers who have been fined can set up a payment plan where they pay either $25 a month or 2% of their net monthly income, whichever is higher. Drivers who have had their licenses suspended can take part in this plan as well.
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