updated 9/12/2007 5:20:27 PM ET 2007-09-12T21:20:27

Amber Renee Helton was trying to avoid legal problems by paying a traffic ticket. She ended up behind bars when authorities found out she drove a stolen car to the courthouse to pay it, police said.

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Clarendon County deputies received a tip that Helton was going to be in a stolen car when she paid the ticket, Chief Deputy Joe Bradham said.

So officers arrested Helton as she opened the door of the 2001 Dodge Intrepid at the courthouse Tuesday morning, authorities said.

Helton, 21, and her passenger, 35-year-old Terry Lynn Alvery, were charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, Bradham said.

Helton was being held at the Clarendon jail Wednesday on $5,000 bail. It was unclear whether she had an attorney. A message left at the public defender's office was not immediately returned.

The vehicle had been reported stolen Aug. 28 in Dayton, Tenn., authorities said.

Helton had been in court less than a week before. She was found not guilty of possession of a stolen tag and guilty of driving without possession of a state driver's license, Bradham said.

"I guess she thought, 'Hey, I got away with having a stolen tag. I might get away with the entire car,'" Bradham said.

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