Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Can I Pay My Fine in Pennies?

Look, we get it -- that ticket you got was complete b.s. and you shouldn't even have to pay this fine. So why make it easy on yourself and cut a check when you can increase the hassle, possibly incur more fines, and make an innocent clerk's life miserable by paying in pennies?

You're gonna make a statement! You're gonna stick it to the man by making an extra trip to the bank, getting some small coins, rolling them up, and handing the exact same amount over to the city as you would have paid anyway! You rebel! That'll teach those jack-booted parking cops to ticket you $25 for parking on the wrong side of the road!

Penny for Your Thoughts?

Your iconoclastic idea of paying in pennies? It's not even original. High-schoolers joke about paying tickets in sacks of change, only they grow up and realize they have better things to do with their time than fight meaningless battles with local parking authorities. And your plan to "inconvenience the borough?" That doesn't really fly when they'll just install coin-counting equipment.

You want to make a statement? Fold 137 dollar bills into origami pigs, put them into a couple Dunkin' Donuts boxes, and deliver them to the police department. THAT's a statement. That says, "I have hours to kill, I know the slang word for cops, AND I have the skill to fold paper into animals."

Love Me (Legal) Tender

And your "They have to accept any legal tender" argument? Not always true. Yes, pennies are legal tender, but, as the Department of the Treasury points out, there is "no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services."

Chambersburg, PA officials were nice enough to reverse their stance and let coin rebel Justin Greene pay his parking fine in pennies. But other entities might not be so nice. So if you get fined, take a page from the Randy Moss playbook, and pay with "straight cash, homie" (not change).

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