Getting a traffic ticket is rarely a stroll through the park. However, with enough information, you could make it a lot easier. The easiest and safest way to avoid a traffic ticket is to know and respect traffic laws. But sometimes you can have a hectic day, you want to get home as fast as possible, and you make a mistake. It happens more often than you think.
The key to resolve a citation as painlessly as possible is to know about the ticket basics, California traffic schools, and a few court rules. This blog post aims to explain basic traffic citations and point you to the easiest way to resolve a ticket in California.
Types of Traffic Citations in California
There are three types of traffic violations in California:
Parking tickets are the most benign violation. They are not filed with the court, instead, you have to pay the fine to the parking agency listed on the ticket.
Generally, it is best to pay the ticket as soon as possible. If you wait too long, the amount you have to pay will only increase.
Unless you believe you should not have received the ticket. In that case, you can contact the agency and appeal. Usually, the court is not involved, unless you want to appeal their decision to the court.
Infraction Traffic Tickets
Infractions, in this case, are all minor traffic violations. For example, running a red light or a stop sign, driving too fast or too slow, etc. Traffic infractions usually result in a smaller fine that can be easily paid by pleading guilty or sometimes resolved by attending California traffic school.
Misdemeanors are heavier offenses like driving without a driving license or under the influence. They can result in a much higher fine and sometimes can also include jail time.
Your Options After an Infraction Traffic Ticket
Once you receive a ticket, you will notice there is an important date on it. You have to appear at court or take action before the date is due. We will cover your options, but acting before the listed date is extremely important. If you fail to do so, the court could charge you with a misdemeanor or a license suspension.
Imagine if you only drove a little above the speed limit. Why risk a higher offense, possibly even jail time, just because you didn’t act on time?
Here are your options when you get a traffic ticket in California:
Plead Guilty and Pay the Fine
This is probably the easiest way to resolve a traffic ticket, especially if you are not eligible for a California traffic school. You can send the payment with a copy of the citation and your case will be closed. Just remember to send proof of correction if your ticket includes correctable violations.
Paying the fine will probably result in points on your driving record and an increase in your auto insurance premium.
Go to Traffic School
Attending an online California traffic school is the most beneficial way of resolving a traffic ticket. A traffic school is an eight-hour course that teaches you safe driving techniques, California traffic laws, etc.
With an online course, you can finish the classes, take the test, and resolve the ticket, all without leaving your home. Not to mention you can go at your own pace and rewatch the parts of the course that are harder to understand.
You can only attend California traffic school once a year, and if the violation is not too serious. But if you can, you definitely should. It will help you relearn important driving rules, reduce your auto insurance premium, and even reduce points on your driving record.
Provide Proof of Correction
If you received a correctable violation, you can easily resolve the ticket by fixing the problem, and then sending proof of correction to the court.
For example, if you were cited for driving with a broken tail light. You fix the tail light and find an authorized person to sign the Certificate of Correction. Then you must take the signed ticket, proof of correction, and the dismissal fee to the court or mail it if that is an option. Remember to do this before the deadline on your ticket.
Ask For a Trial
If you believe you are not guilty, you can appear at court on the date on your ticket or “Notice to Appear”. You can also do this by phone before the due date. Then you can ask for a court trial or a trial by mail.
In summary, an infraction traffic ticket isn’t that bad if you address it on time, and if you can resolve it with a California traffic school. Even if you have to provide proof of correction or decide to appear in court, all you need is a simple reminder to avoid larger problems.