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Wait… How much is that ticket?

Featured Image
A gavel on a stack of money.

I’ve been driving for more than 3 decades. Last month, I got my first ticket ever.

The reason? My car registration expired and I must have missed the email reminding me to renew.

One morning when traffic on the Interstate was crawling, a state trooper noticed the little sticker on the back of my license plate was five months overdue.

I’m not surprised he noticed it. With the pace of traffic that morning, he’d probably been staring at it for 10 solid minutes. But over those five months, as many times as I’ve put something in the trunk, or scraped ice off the windshield or pumped gas, I never saw it. Not even once.

To say I was annoyed would be an understatement. But at least the state trooper was nice about it. I took the ticket and resolved to clear up this singular blemish as soon as possible. I went to the DMV website to renew my registration right away. I carried a temporary proof of registration in my glovebox until the new stickers arrived. And as the instructions on the ticket dictated, I went to the district court website to calculate my fine

Can you guess how much it cost?

  • There was a $10 penalty for being overdue when I paid for the registration renewal.
  • The fine for the violation was $25.
  • There were court costs also, and this was the most expensive part. The court costs tacked on another $66.
  • So not counting the regular $41 registration fee, the forgotten registration cost me $101. ($10 + $25 +$66 = $101.)

It hurts to spend money on something so avoidable. I was fortunate to be able to cover the cost with funds set aside for unexpected expenses. Everyone should have an emergency fund, of course, but I know more than a few of my friends do not.

Needless to say, there are plenty of things I’d rather have spent that $101 on. You can bet that I’ll pay more attention to those DMV email reminders in the future!