Guide to traffic tickets
This guide has general information about your options if you get a traffic ticket.
- How to pay for a ticket
- How to contest the ticket (ask for a trial)
- What happens if you ignore a traffic ticket
It also has information about traffic school, fix-it tickets, and how to appeal a ticket.
You can't pay or contest a traffic ticket through this website. Go to the county court where you got the ticket.
The traffic ticket and Notice to Appear
You can get a traffic ticket for minor driving offenses or equipment violations, like running a red light, speeding, or having a broken tail light. These types of tickets are handled in traffic court. The ticket will have information about how to take care of the ticket and which county court is handling the ticket.
After the court processes the ticket, the court sends you more information, called a notice to appear or notice. The notice tells you:
- What the fine is (called bail)
- How to pay the fine or contest the ticket
- Your due date
You must take care of the ticket by the due date. The notice from the court will explain how to do that. You can usually also get the information on the court's website. The court's name is listed on the ticket and the notice. If you lost the ticket or didn't get the notice, contact the court in the county where you got the ticket.
Options to take care of your traffic ticket
Pay the ticket (don't contest it)
If you are eligible, you can also sign up for traffic school. If you got a fix-it ticket, you also send in proof you fixed the problem. If you can't afford to pay for the ticket, you can ask the court to lower the amount. You can do this at the court or on their website.
Contest the ticket at a trial
To contest the ticket, you ask for a trial. To ask for a trial, you tell the court you are pleading not guilty.
If you ignore the ticket
You could be found guilty, owe the money, and face more penalties
A judge or commissioner (an official who works for the court) could decide if you're guilty without you being there. If they decide you are, the ticket will go on your DMV record and can impact your insurance. In addition, the court may
- Fine you up to an additional $100 (called a civil assessment)
- Charge you with a "Failure to Appear"
- Suspend your driver's license
You can still ask for your fines to be reduced or even canceled
If you didn't pay or go to court by the deadline for a good reason (like you were sick), you can ask the court to cancel a civil assessment. You need to ask as soon as you can.
If you can't afford the fines, you can also ask the court to consider your ability to pay. The court may be able to lower the fine, give you more time to pay, or order you to do community service instead.
If you had a civil assessment from before July 1, 2022, the total amount you owe may be decreased. A new law passed that canceled civil assessments from before July 1, 2022.