Do you have to go to court for a traffic ticket?
Seeing blue and red flashing lights in the rear-view mirror strikes fear in the heart of most people. Whether you were speeding on your way to work, blew through a stop sign, or drifted into another lane without signaling first, you are probably facing a citation for a traffic violation. Will you be required to go to court because of a minor lapse in judgement?
The majority of traffic tickets for moving violations do not mandate a court appearance, unless you are planning on contesting the citation. Most petty traffic offenses, like running a stop light or minor speeding, can be resolved without going to court. Simply pay the fine — which is technically a legal admission of guilt – and the whole matter goes away.
Even in situations where you aren’t required to go to court, you might achieve a more advantageous outcome if you do. In the rare cases where the law enforcement officer doesn’t show up to the hearing, you are off the hook. If you want to lessen the impact of a traffic ticket, or need legal advice on whether you can beat the charges, a personal injury lawyer is an excellent resource. By going to court to dispute the ticket, you may be able to have the judge reduce it to a lesser fine, have the citation dismissed, or work out a flexible payment plan.
In California, you can reduce the points on your driver’s record (and keep your insurance premiums from skyrocketing) by attending traffic school within an outlined time frame. In most cases, state residents are eligible to attend traffic school once every 18 months.
Consequences if you do not pay the ticket
There are serious consequences if you fail to pay your traffic ticket, or do not show up in court to fight the charges. Tickets, no matter how minor the infractions, should never be ignored. Depending on the circumstances, the DMV can suspend your driver’s license, additional penalties may be levied, or the court may charge you with a misdemeanor and issue a warrant for your arrest.
If you are going to fight the ticket, or need assistance with more serious violations, such as driving on a suspended license, legal counsel can be very helpful.
Certain tickets do require court appearances
There are certain moving violations that do require a court appearance in California. The following offenses may be considered misdemeanor and felony infractions, which automatically mandate a court date.
- Reckless driving
- Speeding more than 25 miles over the posted limit
- Driving while under suspension
- Hit and run accidents
- Being involved in an accident that results in serious injury or death
In addition, all minors residing in California who are charged with moving violations must appear in a Juvenile traffic court.
Every year, some four million Californians get traffic tickets for infractions like broken tail lights, parking in handicapped zones, failing to stop at red lights, and expired registrations. According to a state-wide report, more than 4.2 million residents had their driver’s licenses suspended between 2006 -2013 for failing to pay traffic ticket fines and penalties.
Do I need a lawyer to represent my case?
While traffic tickets are a common part of living in Los Angeles, it pays to take these matters seriously. In circumstances where injury and property damage occur because of the alleged offense, it’s imperative to protect your rights and consult one of our trustworthy car accident lawyers.
If you have been issued a ticket for a moving violation, or need guidance after a motor vehicle collision, the attorneys at Ellis Injury Law stand ready to help. Our legal team boasts more than 25 years of experience, and can assist you in securing the most favorable result.
One Call… Does it All® There is no cost to schedule a private consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer at our firm. Reach out today for expert advocacy you can count on.