Six Ways to Resolve a California Traffic Ticket

California law provides for six different ways to resolve a traffic citation in California.

1. Hire an Attorney

Hire a traffic ticket attorney to appear in court for you and determine the best way to resolve the case. You can diminish the stress and aggravation that results from dealing with the citation by retaining an experienced traffic ticket attorney. The attorney can help you find the best way to fight the citation for a “not guilty” verdict so that you can avoid the notation on your driving records and the points that can lead to an increase in your insurance premiums.

2. Appear in Court to Request a Trial

Appear in court and plead not guilty by the deadline indicated on the citation or courtesy notice. Individuals who wish to contest their citations may schedule a court trial at the Traffic Clerk’s Office. The law enforcement officer who wrote the citation will be subpoenaed to appear at the trial. Contact the traffic court in the jurisdiction where the citation was issued for information on scheduling a court trial within the allotted time.

3. Request a Trial by Written Declaration

Request a trial by written declaration and plead not guilty by appearing in person at the Traffic Clerk’s Office or by writing to the Court to request this kind of a trial. Individuals often choose this option if they live far away from the Court.

4. Plead Guilty by Paying the Citation

Plead guilty and incur the points by paying the full amount on the courtesy or final notice on or before the due date (unless the courtesy notice stated that a mandatory appearance is required.)

Payments and payments with requests for traffic violator school may be made in person, by phone or by mail. If individuals must show proof of vehicle registration or insurance or proof that an equipment violation has been fixed, these issues can be handled by mail or in person.

5. Plead Guilty by Paying the Citation in Installments

Plead guilty and incur the points by paying the full amount on the courtesy or final notice in installments. Many traffic courts charge an administrative fee to set up an installment plan. These installment plans do not require individuals to go to court to request time to pay; they can be set up by court staff in the Clerk’s Office.

6. Plead Guilty by Requesting Community Service

Plead guilty and incur the points by requesting that all or a portion of the bail be converted to community service work. The Court has a community service work program for individuals who cannot afford to pay the bail on their citations.

To be eligible to perform community service work, individuals must meet certain financial qualifications. To inquire about community service work, individuals must come to the court to complete a declaration regarding their household income and expenses.

The court will then determine eligibility for community service work. Court staff can provide timesheets and information on community service work agencies. For those individuals who do not meet the financial qualifications to perform community service work, they may opt to set up a payment plan to pay the bail in monthly installments.