7 On Your Side:Woman Receives Tickets For Car She Doesn't Own
Sherrill Ballard looks over two tickets she received from SafeLight in Dallas. They captured this car, identified by its license plate, running two red lights.
The violations occurred in March and April long after she sold the car back in January.
"The first thing I thought is I haven't even been to Dallas in like two months. How could I even have run a red light in Dallas. Then you realize that it's a car you don't even own anymore," says Sherrill.
Sherrill told SafeLight she wasn't the owner, but according to their records she still was.
The buyer never renewed the car's registration, so when you run the plates it was still in her name.
"Of course [SafeLight] asks you the name of the person you sold it to and we didn't have that. We didn't have that person's information," says Sherrill regretfully.
Sherrill also realized she signed the title in the wrong spot. But Smith County Tax Assessor Gary Barber says the buyer still should have filed the paperwork to transfer the title.
"In fact there are penalties if [buyers] don't file within 21 days after the purchase. But the penalties aren't severe enough it's only a $10 fine," says Barber.
There's also a five dollar transfer notification form sellers can fill out to transfer the license plate out of their name.
But Barber tells 7 On Your Side the best bet to keep this from happening to you, "When you sell a car between individuals, come into the tax office during business office hours where both parties can sign the title in the office and we can transfer the ownership of the vehicle at that time."
Sherrill adds, "Hind sight is 20/20 and from now on if something like this happens I will get their name, address... Anything they'll give me!"
The tickets have now reached $100 a piece. But Sherrill, by chance, got in touch with the buyer. She says he promised her the tickets would be paid.
Another note to this story: a bill is awaiting Governor Rick Perry's signature that would alleviate problems like this.
It would allow sellers to keep the tags after their car is sold, eliminating further liability when ownership is not transferred properly.
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