If you can't pay your traffic ticket fine

If you can't afford to pay your traffic ticket fine, you can ask the court to lower the fine, set up a payment plan, give you more time to pay, or do community service instead. This is sometimes called an ability to pay determination. 

 
 
Get information from the court

The court handling your ticket has information on how to look up your ticket or pay.

 

Go to the court's website

How to ask the court to lower the fine

Once the court decides that you owe a fine and sets the amount, you can ask the court to consider your ability to pay the fine. When you make the request, you will need to give the court information about your financial situation. 

You can use this for traffic ticket fines as well as other infraction fines, like a ticket for fishing without a license. 

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If you had a civil assessment, the total amount you owe may be decreased. A new law passed that canceled civil assessments from before July 1, 2022.

You may be able to make the request online

In some courts, you can now use an online program, MyCitations, to make your request. All courts will use MyCitations by June 30, 2024. With MyCitations you can submit your request online and upload any proof the court needs of your financial situation.

  • Counties that use Mycitations

    MyCitations is available in Fresno, Imperial, Modac, Monterey, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Shasta, Tulare, Ventura, and Santa Cruz

Go to MyCitations

You can use a form to make your request

In every court, you can turn in a form to ask the court to consider your ability to pay. 

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Fill out Form TR-320, Can't Afford to Pay Fine: Traffic and Other Infractions. Mail or take the form to the court. In some courts, you may be able to file this online, called e-filing.

A judge will review your request and make a decision. The court will mail you the judge's decision (an order). 

You can ask again if your financial situation changes

If your financial situation changes, you can make another request to lower the amount. You can use the same form.