You know how the rolling snowball starts off small but as it rolls downhill, it gets larger and larger, and faster and faster? That same situation can apply when you fail to show up and take care of even a simple traffic citation.

For far too many people, here’s how a minor traffic ticket snowballs into a major life crisis.

You’re broke and don’t have the money for the $100 fine needed to cover your traffic citation. So, you just don’t pay, instead of taking care of the ticket in one of many available ways. (See main article for available options). The court reports your failure to pay to the Kansas Department of Revenue who suspends your license. In addition, the court files a warrant against you.

Of course you continue to drive because you have to get to work, the grocery store, school, etc., and you’re pulled over again. Okay, it’s a possible profiling case, but that doesn’t matter. When they run your license, POP!! You’re arrested for driving on a suspended license and there’s this little matter of a warrant.

If you manage to get through this encounter with the law, you think you would think you’d come clean, do right. But nobody has any money to help you pay the original fine, let alone the additional fees. Remember, you’re broke, and how else are you going to pay those exorbitant fines? So you continue to drive on a suspended license and then this little problem with getting insurance comes up. With your license suspended, it’s darn near impossible to get car insurance.

You’re late to work and speeding when you get pulled over again. The cop runs your license and you know what they find. That snowball is getting bigger and bigger.

The first time you were caught driving on a suspended license, the law requires a mandatory court appearance and you’re charged with a class B nonperson misdemeanor. By Kansas law the maximum penalty for this charge is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The second time you’re caught driving on a suspended, the charge jumps up to a class A nonperson misdemeanor. This time the maximum sentence is one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

While you may not get the maximum fine or penalty, the minimum charge for a second driving on suspended requires a minimum five days in jail and a minimum $100 fine. Just in case you get caught driving on a suspended a third time, your minimum sentence is 90 days in jail and a minimum $1,500 fine.

Don’t forget your fees and penalties for driving without insurance. The first time it’s a Class B misdemeanor with a minimum charge of $300 and not more than $1,000 or confinement in the county fail for a term of not more than six months, or both – confinement and the fine. If you get stopped again for driving without insurance within three years, the fine is not less than $800 nor more than $2,500.

By now, that snowball is big enough and rolling fast enough to engulf pets, small children, and families in its path. In fact, unless you’re in a high income bracket, or flush with savings, the snowball may have certainly left you busted.

Add it up. All of this because you initially failed to show up and pay a $100 fine.

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