Traffic Ticket FAQs in California
It happens to all of us at one time or another. You see the rotating lights of a police car. He pulls into traffic behind you. Maybe you were going a little too fast, or maybe your tag expired. Who knows? You pull over, talk to the officer, and he issues you a ticket. What next?Consider these ten frequently asked questions.
1. Are all traffic fines the same in California?
No. Counties throughout the state have the freedom to set their own fines. Additionally, penalties and fees vary by county and may raise or lower the fine on a ticket depending on where the infraction occurred.
2. I just got a speeding ticket (or any sort of traffic ticket), what now?
First, you should locate the appearance date on your ticket. This is the deadline for when you must decide how you will plead. Not contacting the court before this date could result in dire consequences including, but not limited to, a warrant for your arrest.
Second, you must decide how to plead. Take time to carefully decide if you will fight the citation or pay it. This will determine how you proceed.
3. Am I required to appear in court for my traffic ticket?
Most traffic tickets can be settled through the mail. If you are unsure how to proceed with your ticket, please contact the court.
4. How many DMV points will be added to my driving record?
The answer depends on the infraction. The most serious violations (DUI, driving uninsured, etc.) result in two points, whereas the lesser violations generally result in one. Points are typically masked anywhere from three to ten years after the ticket was issued, depending on the infraction and your record.
5. Does enrolling in Traffic School California reduce the points on my driving record?
Yes. If you attend a court-approved traffic school in California, you may be able to get your ticket masked. The court has an approved list of traffic schools for this purpose.
Attending Traffic School California is a great way to remove unwanted points.
6. I received a Red Light Photo Enhancement ticket in the mail. What do I do now?
The citation should include instructions on what to do next. Your options are similar to a normal traffic ticket. You can agree to pay or try to fight it. If you were not the person driving the car when the photo was taken, for instance, you may be able to fight the ticket.
7. I received a California fix-it ticket. What should I expect?
California's correctable violation tickets allow you to fix the problem and either pay for the violation or prove you corrected the issue, depending on the directions given on your ticket. In the event you need to prove you fixed something, simply find a police officer, court clerk, or DMV agent and ask him or her to sign the part of your ticket labeled Certificate of Correction. Once you have the necessary signature, you need to go to court and have the mask the violation. Masking fees apply.
8. How many DMV points accumulate before my license is suspended?
Licenses are subject to suspension when four points are added in a one-year period, six points are added in a two-year period, or eight points are accumulated in a three-year-period.
9. Should I get a lawyer?
You are allowed to represent yourself for traffic violations. If you choose, you may hire a traffic ticket lawyer, but it is not required. It is always a good idea to consult a lawyer on court-related matters. The court will assign you an attorney in the event that you have been cited a misdemeanor traffic ticket and you cannot afford representation.
10. Can I order a copy of my driving record?
Yes, you can and you should order a copy of your record to make sure everything is correct. Since your insurance rate depends heavily on your driving record, it is a good idea to make sure the account is accurate.