Paying a traffic ticket

This page has general information about paying traffic tickets, including traffic school, fix-it tickets, and your options if you can't afford to pay a ticket.

 

The ticket, notice from the court, or the court's website has specific information about how to pay (online, by mail, or in person). 

Where to pay your ticket

Your traffic ticket or the notice you got in the mail from the court has information on how to plead guilty (or no contest) and pay. You can usually do this online, by mail, or in person. If your ticket or notice says mandatory appearance, it means you will have to go to court. 

Look up or pay a traffic ticket

Don’t know which county? Find it by city or zip code.

Plead guilty or no contest and pay the fine by the deadline

If you are not going to contest your traffic ticket, you need to both:

  • Plead guilty or no contest
  • Pay the fine (also called bail)
"Guilty" and "no contest" are very similar. Learn more
You get a conviction either way. Guilty means you're admitting you did what the ticket says. No contest means you are not admitting it, but you are not going to challenge it either (you're not contesting it). You'll get the same penalty, and it will go on your record. 

The main difference between a guilty or no contest plea is how it can be used if you're sued for a reason related to the traffic ticket. A guilty plea can be used to prove you did what the ticket says. If you plea no contest, the person suing you may still need to prove you did what the ticket says. Talk to a lawyer for more information about how your plea can impact you if you're sued.

DMV points and traffic school

The conviction will show up on your driving record with the DMV (it adds points to your driving record). The points can affect your car insurance. 

When you plead guilty or if the judge finds you guilty, it is a conviction. The conviction goes on your driving record. These are "points." Points can stay on your record for 3 to 7 years and impact your car insurance. Your car insurance company may ask you to pay more for insurance or they may cancel your policy and tell you to find insurance elsewhere.

If you are eligible, you can ask to go to a traffic school so you don't get a point on your record. The notice sent by the court will say if you are eligible for traffic school. There's a fee to go to traffic school.

If you complete traffic school, you don't get the point added to your DMV record (if you have a noncommercial driver's license). If you have a commercial driver's license the rules are different. 

If you have a fix-it ticket (correctable offense)

If you had a fix-it ticket (correctable offense), you need to pay the fine and send in proof that you fixed the problem. This is generally the signed certificate of correction on the back of the ticket.

If you can't afford to pay for your ticket

Once the court sets your fine, if you can't afford to pay it you can ask the court to 

  • Lower what you owe
  • Give you more time to pay
  • Let you pay over time
  • Give you community service

You will need to answer some questions about why you can't afford the fine. Get information on how to ask the court to consider your ability to pay.

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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.