What happens when you get a traffic ticket?

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The police officer will ask you for your driver's license, your car registration and proof of insurance, and may ask you to get out of the car. If the officer accuses you of committing a traffic violation, they will provide you with a “ Notice to Appear” with the charges and ask you to sign it. Just because you sign the “fine” doesn't mean you are admitting that you are guilty. It is only a promise to appear in court listed on the fine no later than the date indicated. If he refuses to sign the fine, the agent will be required by law to arrest you and present you to a judge for the arraignment.

 

Beginning May 1, 2017, you will receive a notice from the court reminding you that you promised to appear in court. You must appear no later than the date on the ticket, even if you do not receive a notice.

 

Types of traffic citations (or fines)

When an agent fines you, it will be for one of these three types of citations:

Do you have to post a bond for your traffic violation? 

When it is not necessary to post a bond
You have the right to appear in court to read charges and dispute the alleged traffic violation without previously posting a bond. (Rules of the Cal Court, rule 4.105). You must appear as stated in the ticket, even if you do not receive a courtesy notice. When you appear at a charge reading hearing, you will have to make a statement. If you plead not guilty, you can ask for a trial for another date.

You can dispute your fine without appearing before the judge to read the charges. You can do this by going to the traffic court clerk's office or by mail. In any of these cases, to set a trial date without appearing before the judge you will have to deposit the amount of the bond at the same time that you submit your request.

The court may require payment of the bond before trial during the arraignment hearing if:

  • You do not sign a promise to appear, as ordered by the court; or
  • The court determines (and explains the reasons for making that determination) that, given the particular circumstances of your case, you are unlikely to appear unless you post a bond.

(Cal. Court Rules, rule 4.105 (c).)

When is it necessary to deposit a deposit?
Pay and not recover the deposit. If you do not want to dispute your traffic ticket (and you do not have a mandatory court hearing) you must post bail for non-correctable offenses, show proof of correction and pay appropriate fees for all correctable offenses, plus take on the date indicated in the fine. The court will report a conviction for uncorrectable infractions to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Declare the intention to plead not guilty and request a trial date. If you want to plead not guilty and schedule a trial date, you can tell the court, in person or in writing, that you want to plead not guilty. The arraignment and trial will be scheduled the same day, unless you want the arraignment and trial to be held on separate dates. In order to take advantage of this convenience, you will have to post your bond in the traffic court. (See Vehicle Code section 40519 (a)). If you are found not guilty at trial, your bail will be returned. https://carsforyourhelp.com/california-insurance-license-driving-without-a-license-california/

Plead not guilty in writing and request a trial date. If you want to plead not guilty in writing and schedule a trial date, you can do so by mail or in person with the clerk. The arraignment and trial will be scheduled the same day, unless you want the arraignment and trial to be held on separate dates. In order to take advantage of this convenience, you will have to post your bond in the traffic court. (See Vehicle Code section 40519 (b)). If you are found not guilty at trial, your bail will be returned.

Trial by written declaration. You can avoid all court appearances by asking for a trial by written declaration. This means that instead of going to court to dispute your case, you and the agent who fined you will give your testimony and present the evidence in writing. (See Vehicle Code section 40902). To use this procedure, you have to deposit the deposit amount. If you are found not guilty, they will refund your bond. (You can see more details about this procedure in the section “Trial by written declaration” below). This option must be chosen no later than the “appearance date” that appears on your ticket.

Your options after receiving a traffic ticket (for violation)

When you receive a traffic ticket, you must act before the expiration date indicated in your "Notice of Appearance." Beginning May 1, 2017, all courts must send a reminder by mail explaining what their options are. You continue to have the responsibility to act before the date indicated in your "Notice of Appearance". If you do not appear in court or take the action indicated in your ticket or in court notices, your driver's license may be suspended and the court may charge you with a misdemeanor or infraction and issue an arrest warrant. Failure to appear may also result in other fines or fees.

In general, when you receive a traffic ticket, you can:

    1. Plead guilty and pay the traffic ticket . You can plead guilty and pay the fine. This payment is also called a "bond." Send your payment to the court along with a copy of the fine or reminder. If your fine is for a fixable violation, such as an expired license plate, be sure to include your proof of correction. If it has not been corrected, you must appear in court to determine the appropriate amount of the fine.
      • When the court receives your payment, your case will be closed. If you don't receive a courtesy notice, you can contact the court to find out what your fine is. All courts have websites with information about traffic tickets and how to pay them. Some courts allow online payment.
      • Once you have paid it, your fine will appear as a conviction on your Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) record.  They will add points to your driving record, and your insurance company may ask you to pay more for your insurance or they may cancel your policy and notify you that you will have to obtain insurance with another company. Points can remain on your record for three to seven years. If you are unable to pay the full amount of the fine because of financial problems, when you appear in court you can ask the court to consider your ability to pay and to reduce the amount ordered due to the conviction, or you can ask to be released. do community service or be allowed to pay in installments.

    1. Pay to go to traffic school (as long as you are eligible to go to traffic school) . The court can tell you what you need to do to be able to go to traffic school. If this is your first ticket and the court allows you to go to traffic school, no points will be added to your record. Read the section on Traffic School  for more information. If you cannot pay the full amount of the fine because of financial problems, you can appear in court and ask that you keep in mind that you cannot pay and reduce the fee to go to traffic school.
       
    2. Present proof of correction, if your traffic ticket is for a "Correctable Ticket" , or something you can fix, such as a broken component. For more information, read Correctable Violations (or Equipment Fines) .

  1. Appear in court. You can appear in court on the date indicated in the fine, or contact the court before the date indicated in the fine and request any of the following: (1) You can request a charge reading hearing to make a statement This can be: (a) telling the court that you want to plead guilty, finding out what the amount of the fine is, and negotiating how you are going to pay the fine or asking the court to take into account your ability to pay and consider a reduction, approve a community service or payment plan; or (b) can plead “not guilty” or “undisputed” and request a trial date; (2) You can also ask the court to decide your case in a trial by written declaration, for which you will have to deposit the full amount of the bond. See sectionTraffic lawsuits for more information. In certain other circumstances, when you want to set a trial date without first appearing in the arraignment, you may have to post bail (California Vehicle Code section 40519). If you decide to have a trial by written declaration, you will also have to post the bond (Vehicle Code section 40902).
     
  2. Ask for a trial, if you think you are not guilty. On the date listed on your ticket or “Notice to Appear,” or on another date indicated in a reminder, you must appear and ask for a trial in court. You can also call the court before these dates to make this request. You can order:
• A trial in court presided over by a judicial officer, or
• A trial by mail (also called a “trial by written declaration”).
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