F.A.Q.

The easiest way to get rid of your traffic ticket is paying for it. However, this solution may cost a lot of money; and moreover, you will most probably get points on your record which will significantly increase your insurance premiums. In more complex situations your quick surrender of paying for the ticket may result in license suspensions, warrants, arrests, imprisonments, and sometimes may present additional immigration and employment problems. Therefore, it is highly recommended to fight your traffic citations, especially when you feel you were not really at fault. It is extremely important to defend yourself when you are a regular driver without the right to take the traffic school, or even more importantly if you are a commercial driver (including truck, taxi, limo, Uber, Shuttle, Hazmat, bus drivers, et).

After you pay your fine, points may show up on your DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) record unless you can go to traffic school. If the court lets you go to traffic school and you turn in your proof of completion of traffic school to the court before the deadline, the point(s) does not affect your driving record. If you get points on your record, your insurance company may ask you to pay more for insurance because of this, or they may cancel your policy and tell you to find insurance elsewhere. Points can stay on your record between 3 to 7 years depending on the violation you were cited for.

A lot of people do not understand the meaning of traffic school correctly. If you are a regular Class C driver, you are given the opportunity to complete one 8 hour course every 18 months. However, if you are a commercial or hazmat driver; you do not qualify for traffic school under any circumstances. Most commercial and hazmat drivers have to be extremely cautious because at times the Judge will grant them traffic school, the Superior Court will accept it and send it to the DMV, but the Department of Motor Vehicles will reject it and still add the point on the record. If you receive a new citation and are not sure if you qualify to complete traffic school, you can always call and ask the assigning court house.

Failure to take care of your traffic ticket by your appearance date will result in your case being affected by an “FTA” also known as a "failure to appear." The court reports the FTA to the Department of Motor Vehicles which then puts a hold on your driving privileges. In addition, your citation will also be transferred to a collection agency also known as "GC Services", and an additional charge of $300.00 which is a common penalty assessment fee by the court will be added on to your original bail amount.

Notices sent to you by the courts are done as a courtesy to you. If you don't receive a notice before your appearance date, you should make arrangements to contact the appropriate court as listed on your citation given to you by the citing agency. Do not assume that the court or the citing officer has forgotten about you. Ignoring the citation will only make things worse, and result in having your license suspended.

If you qualify, there are different types of extensions for different types of traffic matters. The procedures vary between each individual court and the type of citation which you received. You will need to contact the court listed on your citation or can go directly to their website for further information on how to get an extension.

The difference between the two is distinguished based on the violation code in which you get cited from the officer. An infraction is known to be a more lenient violation with lower fines. There are points and non-point infractions just how there are point and non-point misdemeanor violations. Infraction violations usually stay on your record for 3 years and 3 months unless you were cited for a moving violation and qualify for traffic school. Misdemeanor matters however, work a bit differently for the main purpose that they are considered to be criminal violations. Whether or not you are found guilty of a point, two points, or non-point violation, the conviction will remain on your record anywhere from 7 to 10 years based on the violation and indeed you will be faced with having to pay higher court fines.

There is no one precise way to fight a traffic citation. Most of the people believe that the only way to dismiss a ticket is when the police officer luckily doesn’t show up at the trial. However, since most of the officers are recently prone to appear at the trial, you are required to protect yourself. The best strategies leading to your victory depend on the courthouse, the police officer citing you, the discretions and preferences of the judge, the seriousness of the violation, the existence of prior tickets, your eligibility for the traffic school, availability of any witnesses, and many other factors you have to thoroughly think about.

You can go to traffic court without a lawyer and try to fight the citation on your own if you simply have the time and can use a vacation from work. However, if you already have too many points on your record, we suggest retaining a private attorney to help fight your citation would most certainly be the better option within your circumstances. When it comes to fighting your traffic citation, you are not required to have a lawyer representing you; however, an experienced attorney may save you time and eventually money, since he/she better knows the law, the courthouse rules, and the best strategies and tactics to apply in your particular situation. With that said, it is crucial to have an attorney for a misdemeanor offense such as, hit and run, driving with a suspended license, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, et. Take into consideration, you are never appointed an attorney by the court for your traffic or misdemeanor matters. It is only when you are facing a felony that you have an opportunity to be appointed an attorney by the court, also known as a "Public Defender."

Yes. If you have a trial and are found not guilty, the court will return the bail to the person that paid it within four to eight weeks.

Requesting to do a Trial by Written Declaration (TBD) means that you would like to contest the citation without being present in court. Every court usually has different guidelines and forms you must complete in order for your TBD to be taken into consideration. The court employees are not licensed attorneys; therefore, it is not ok for you to call the court asking them for legal advice or guidance. Let’s not forget that the citing officer is notified as well and is asked to fill out adequate documentation as well regarding how the stop was conducted. Once the Judge or Commissioner has both, he/she reviews it and comes to a decision. Another reason why we would not recommend a TBD, due to the fact that you preparing for the TBD researching all the correct tactics becomes a burden and eventually a waste of time & energy.

There are many ways you can handle this problem. One way is to go to the local Department of Motor Vehicles' (DMV) office. Ask a clerk at the DMV to help you. After you correct the problem, the DMV will sign the “Certificate of Correction” part of your ticket. You must take or mail the signed ticket with proof of correction to the court along with your dismissal fee. Do this before the deadline on your ticket. The court will then dismiss your case and it will not go on your record.

In California, for instance, you must have car insurance that covers you when you are driving any car. If a police officer stops you, you must show proof of insurance. If you have insurance but do not have proof to show the officer, you will be charged with an infraction for driving without proof of insurance, and must provide proof of your insurance to the court and pay a fee. Once you pay the fee (called a "dismissal fee"), the court will dismiss the charge. However, if you do not have insurance, you must purchase it. Then, provide your proof of insurance to the court and pay a fine. Some courts will let you pay the fine in installments.

The Information on Appeal Procedures for Infractions (Form CR-141-INFO) has instructions on how to appeal infractions, and the Notice of Appeal and Record of Oral Proceedings (Form CR-142) is used for a notice of appeal for infraction cases. If you were found guilty after a trial by written declaration, you must first file a request for a new trial. Use a Request for New Trial form (Trial de Novo / Trial by Written Declaration / Form TR-220). Also check out Instructions to Defendant (Trial by Written Declaration — Traffic / Form TR-200) to fill out adequate documentation for your request to be granted correctly.