NJ Woman Jailed in NYC for 2002 Traffic Ticket

Krystle Garcia, 27, said she spent the night in jail after police discovered she had an outstanding summons from 2002

By Pei-Sze Cheng
|  Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012  |  Updated 11:09 AM EDT
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Woman Jailed in NYC for '02 Traffic Ticket

A New Jersey woman says she was arrested at a Manhattan checkpoint and spent a night in jail after police found she had a traffic summons from 10 years ago.

Krystle Garcia, 27, told NBC 4 New York that she has worked in New York City for six years and has driven into the city every day with no problems. Then, last Thursday, she was arrested at a checkpoint on the Upper East Side for an outstanding summons from 2002.

"It was horrifying," said Garcia, of Elmwood Park. "I sat in a holding cell for 14 hours with people who had gun charges, who were fighting each other."

Garcia was 17 years old when she received the summons, issued because she did not have an insurance card with her while driving in New York state. Garcia said she has been able to renew her New Jersey driver's license and her car's registration without any issues.

She may have forgotten about the 2002 summons; New York state did not.

"I've received tickets in New York and I've paid them," she said. "Couldn't they have just impounded my car instead of taking me and putting me with other people who commit actual crimes?"

Garcia settled in court last week and agreed to pay a fine of $155. Her record will stay clean, but she said the fear and humiliation of spending the night in jail will stay with her forever.

"I feel completely violated," she said. "There's got to be something they can do besides torture people."

Garcia plans to file a complaint with the police department, saying she was treated like a criminal for the simple traffic summons.

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