After getting a traffic ticket in CA, you have the choice to fight your ticket or just pay it in the county you received it in. If you've lost your ticket, you should call the court handling your ticket to find out what you should do. Usually, a major traffic violation will result in a suspended license.
Here, you will see the details of how California traffic tickets work and what the penalties are. You'll also learn what to do if you lose the ticket, how to handle penalties for commercial drivers.
Ticket Fines and Penalties
You'll find that rates on each ticket vary from county to county. To find out what it is in your county, you will need to call the court listed on your ticket. Commercial drivers should check below for further information.
Traffic Ticket Penalties
All counties in CA have the same penalties for traffic violations.
The amount of points given depends on your traffic violation. Things like speeding, making dangerous lane changes, and accidents in which you were at fault come with lower point values than more serious violations like DUIs, hit-and-run's, and reckless driving.
If the court finds you guilty of your traffic violation, you will likely see points added to your driving record. You might also have your license suspended or taken away. The court handling your case may give you the option of having the points removed from your record if you successfully complete a defensive driving course.
Paying for Your CA Traffic Ticket
For those who pay the ticket and do not go to traffic school, you might not need to attend court. Sometimes, you are able to just pay the fine online or mail it in. You should be able to determine this by reading your ticket.
If you have lost your ticket, or you can't find out how to pay, call the court handling your case.
Taking a Traffic School Course
If you've gotten a moving violation ticket, depending on the court's allowance, you may be able to take a traffic school course to have the points taken off of your driving record. The court will tell you if you are eligible.
Fighting Your CA Traffic Ticket
For those who want to fight their ticket in court, you will need to attend court in the country where you got the ticket. Otherwise, you can request a trial through the mail.
For a more serious offense, you may want to hire an attorney for help.
Lost Traffic Tickets
Your county will likely have information online about your specific violation if you have lost the ticket. If not, you may have to call the traffic court to find out what you need to do.
NOTE: Many counties will mail you a notice with things like the court address, appearance date, and the ticket amount.
Commercial Drivers: Fines and Penalties
Those with a CDL who get a ticket for a moving violation in CA must tell their employer about it within 30 days of being found guilty. This is the case even if you were driving your own vehicle.
If the conviction happened out-of-state, fill out a Report Out-of-State Traffic Conviction by a Commercial Driver (Form DL 535) for telling your employer.
Serious Traffic Violations in California
The California DMV suspends driver's licenses for getting four or more points in the span of 12 months. Your license will be suspended if you've been cited for a serious traffic offense such as a DUI involving alcohol or drugs.