What to do when you get a CA Traffic Ticket

At some point in your life you might have received a traffic ticket for a moving vehicle or speeding violation. When you’re ticketed for breaking the law, there’s hefty fines to pay - including your high annual auto insurance rate. So, what do you do when you get a ticket?Below we’ve laid out a tentative plan on how to react and recover from being ticketed for a moving vehicle or speeding violation. This guide is your go-to reference for repeals to lowering that insurance rate.

Your options immediately after receiving a ticket

When you’re ticketed, you have a few options on how you could respond to the incident. You could choose to:

  • Contest the traffic ticket in court
  • Ignore it and hope it all blows over (it won’t)
  • Plead guilty and pay the fine
  • Pay the fine and enroll in traffic school
  • Contesting the ticket or ignoring the issue

    You could choose to contest the ticket in court in hopes that you prove innocence and the ticket is repealed. However, the chances of that happening are very low. If you contest the ticket and lose your court case, you will have to pay court costs, the ticket fine, your insurance rate will increase, and your driving record will accrue points. Here are some circumstances under which you could win your court case:

  • The officer who fined you does not show up to court
  • You prove you were not committing the traffic violation
  • You provide proof that the officer’s sight may have been obstructed and they ticketed the wrong vehicle


  • If you choose to ignore the traffic ticket, you will be facing even bigger fines, collection agencies, and, potentially, a warrant for your arrest.

    Paying the fine and enrolling in traffic school

    If you plead guilty and pay the fine, you will skip the high risk of paying court fines in addition to your ticket cost. Moreover, you will still have the opportunity to lower your annual insurance rate and stop your record from accruing points by enrolling in traffic school. By enrolling in traffic school, you will prove that you’re a defensive driver and have the ticket wiped from your record. To be eligible for traffic school, you must:

  • Have a driver’s license that is not suspended or revoked
  • You have a DL and were issued the violation while driving a personal vehicle
  • You received a moving violation or infraction
  • It has been 18-months since the last violation date for which you took traffic school to mask a violation
  • The violation cannot carry more than one point
  • Violations that aren’t eligible for traffic school

    However, there are violations that are not eligible for traffic school. In that case, you are not eligible, if you have received the citations for the following:

  • Correctable violation such as equipment or not having insurance
  • Seat belt violations
  • Misdemeanor violations
  • Violations that have a mandatory court appearance
  • Violations involving alcohol or drugs
  • Speeding violations cannot be for exceeding the speed limit over 25 miles per hour
  • How to enroll in traffic school

    Enrolling in traffic school is the most responsible decision you can make after receiving a traffic ticket. No other option will give you a guaranteed clean record and lower insurance rate. Below are the steps you need to take to enroll in a traffic school:

    1. Pay the ticket bail amount along with an administration fee to the court

    2. Your traffic ticket due date will be extended for an additional 30-90 days to allow you to complete a California traffic school program

    3. Select the online traffic school from the list of 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

    4. Register with a 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

    Upon completing the traffic school, your completion will be electronically transmitted to the court and to the DMV. Next stop, a better driving record, lower insurance rates, and more defensive driving!