The easiest way for a vehicle owner to check for unpaid parking tickets is to visit the website of the local government agency that issues tickets, typically an office of the department of transportation, and run a license plate search in the agency's open citation database, as demonstrated by the Parking Administration website of the City of San Diego. Most localities also allow vehicle owners to research open tickets in person and over the phone.
Vehicle owners who let family and friends drive their cars may be unaware of parking tickets issued when another person was in control of the vehicle. Unfortunately, the owner is financially responsible for citations issued against the car, even if the owner wasn't the one driving, according to Traffic Court Pros. Without a copy of the citation, it's impossible to look up information on an outstanding ticket by citation number, but most jurisdictions allow license plate number searches that reveal any unpaid tickets, explains DMV.org, making a license plate search the most comprehensive way for an owner to keep tabs on the status of a car.
Unpaid parking tickets can lead to extra fines and can result in the car being towed or booted. The vehicle owner is at risk of having a bench warrant issued for his arrest or his license suspended or revoked in some jurisdictions, notes FindLaw. Ultimately, unpaid tickets can cause the car's insurance company to raise the cost of insuring the vehicle.