CA Traffic Ticket Information
If you got a traffic ticket in California, say goodbye to uncertainty because we have summarized the choices available and the steps you need to take to remedy your California traffic ticket, including attending a California traffic school.
If you get pulled over for speeding or failing to stop at a red light/stop sign, made an illegal u-turn or similar traffic related violations, you can get charged with an infraction. Unless it’s your lucky day, the police officer will write a ticket and ask for your signature. The ticket is considered a “Notice to Appear,” and by signing it, you promise to either appear in court by the date indicated on your ticket or pay the fine by the date indicated.
A police officer may issue a ticket for certain types of things that don’t have anything to do with the way you were driving. Some of these violations are correctable and that’s why they are known as “fix-it” tickets. Basically, that means is that you are given the opportunity to fix the issue and prove it was fixed within a certain amount of time.
If a violation is a correctable one, the “Correctable Violation” box on your ticket will be checked. Also, the courtesy notice you may receive in the mail will also indicate whether you can pay a fine for the violation or if you are required to demonstrate proof of correction.
Once you show proof of correction and pay a dismissal fee, the court will dismiss the relevant charge.
If you are unable to prove in court that you had auto insurance at the time your ticket was issued, you will be fined $100-$200 and will be required to obtain insurance.
If your vehicle was properly registered when your traffic citation was issued, but you did not have the registration printout with you in the vehicle at the time the ticket was issued, this is a correctable violation.
If the officer noticed some faulty or illegal equipment on your vehicle, this may be a correctable violation.
Correcting the Violation
Follow the instructions for fixing the problem, including obtaining a signature from an authorized person on the Certificate of Correction portion of your ticket.
The proof of correction must be submitted to the court prior to the deadline along with a dismissal fee. Check with your court to determine of proof of correction can be submitted by mail.
Once the court receives your proof of correction and the dismissal fee, your case will be dismissed and the violation will not appear on your driving record.
Your Options after Getting a California Traffic Ticket
When you get a traffic ticket in California, you must make a decision and take the proper steps prior to the due date on your ticket or “Notice to Appear” and/or your courtesy notice sent to you in the mail by the court. However, do NOT rely on receiving this notice as it is not a requirement by the court and you are still responsible for taking action prior to your deadline based on the information provided on your actual ticket provided by the officer. If you do not take the proper action prior to the date listed on your ticket, your driver’s license may be suspended which could ultimately lead to issuance of a warrant for your arrest.
Following are your options to take for your ticket. One of these options must be selected and acted upon prior to the due date:
- Plead guilty, Pay Fine, and Elect to Attend CA Traffic School.
If you are eligible to attend traffic school, this is the recommended option because you will avoid points from the violation from appearing on your driving record and you will not have to worry about your auto insurance rates going up.
- Plead guilty and pay the fine.
To do this, mail your payment along with a copy of the citation or the notice to the courthouse. Your case will be closed when the court receives your fee. The violation will appear as a conviction and the associated points will be placed on your CA DMV driving record for a period of 3 to 7 years, which may adversely affect your automobile insurance policy in the form of increased rates or possibly even cancelation.
- Plead Not Guilty and Request a Hearing.
You can request a court trial in front of a judge or a “trial by written declaration”, which is a trial by mail. With the trial by mail, you will be required to state the facts of your case and why you believe you are innocent of the charges, and after your case is reviewed by a judicial officer, the decision will be mailed to you.
If the box is checked on your ticket indicating that this the violation for which you were cited is eligible for correction, then take the proper steps to fix and provide proof that the problem was corrected
California Traffic School
As of July 1, 2011, the CA DMV will only allow one traffic conviction (including violations carrying no points) in an 18-month period to be masked from your driving record by taking traffic school.
California Traffic School Eligibility
You will be eligible to attend a California traffic school if:
- Your driver’s license is not suspended or revoked
- You have a CDL and were issued the violation while driving a non-commercial (personal) vehicle
- Your ticket is related to an infraction for a moving violation. Non-moving violations are not eligible for traffic school
- It has been at least 18 months since the last violation date for which you took traffic school to mask a violation. Please note that the traffic school eligibility 18-month period is calculated from violation date, not from the date you last completed traffic school.
- The violation is eligible for traffic school:
- A violation cannot carry more than one point per CA VC Section 12810. Click to determine point count for specific violations.
- Correctable violations such as equipment, not having insurance, etc. are not eligible for traffic school.
- Seat belt violations are not eligible for traffic school
- Misdemeanor violations are not eligible for traffic school
- Violations that have a mandatory court appearance are not eligible for traffic school
- Violations involving alcohol or drugs are not eligible for traffic school
- Speeding violations cannot be for exceeding the speed limit over 25 miles per hour.
Steps for Taking California Online Traffic School
Following are the steps necessary to attend traffic school in order to mask your citation:
- Pay the ticket bail amount along with an administration fee to the court.
- Your traffic ticket due date will be extended for an additional 30-90 days (depending on the court) in order to allow you to complete a California traffic school program.
- Select the California online traffic school from the list of CA DMV approved schools and choose the best online traffic school for you. To view the list of schools currently licensed to provide Traffic Violator School programs, go to DMV Occupational License website and:
– Click ‘Start Search’
– Agree to the Disclaimer / Click ‘Access System’
– Choose ‘Traffic School List’/ Click ‘Continue’
– Click ‘Get Traffic School List’
– Select ‘Internet Course’ / ‘Get Traffic School List’
- Register with a California traffic school online as soon as possible so you will be able to take the course at your own pace and complete it prior to your traffic school deadline given to you by the court.
After you Complete CA Traffic School
After you successfully complete a CA DMV approved traffic school, your completion will be electronically transmitted to the court and to the DMV on your behalf and you will receive a Completion Receipt for your records.
CA Superior Court Information
To locate your California traffic court, please visit the CA Courts Website.