If You Ignore Your Ticket

What happens if you ignore your traffic ticket?

If you ignore (do not respond to) your ticket, your situation will only get worse. Your fine will increase and additional penalties can be added.

You will lose an opportunity to have the court consider financial hardship and ability to pay
If you appear in court as promised, you may ask the court to consider your financial hardship and ability to pay in setting the fine or the fee for traffic school for your ticket or to ask for approval to do community service. After considering your situation, the court may decide whether to reduce the amount of the fine or the fee to attend traffic school, approve a payment plan, or order community service. Failure to appear as promised or respond to court notices about your case can result in suspension of your driver’s license and additional penalties.

If you do not go to court on your court date
This is called a “failure to appear” (FTA). If you violate your written promise to appear at court, that you signed when you got your ticket, you can be found guilty of a misdemeanor. Note: if you contacted the court prior to your “Notice to Appear” date to address your ticket and took action on it (i.e., pled guilty and paid, requested arraignment date, posted bail and requested trial without arraignment, or requested trial by declaration), you may not need to appear. When you talk to the court, be sure to confirm with them that your appearance is not required.

In addition, if you do not pay your fine on time, an extra fee may be added to your fine amount and your case may be referred for collection. This extra fee is called a “civil assessment,” and it can be up to $300. The court can also charge you with a misdemeanor for “failure to pay,” and the court can issue a warrant for your arrest.

If you do not pay the fine
If you do not pay your fine within the time the court gives you, your driver's license may be suspended. You will also not be able to renew your car’s registration.

In addition, if you do not pay your fine on time, an extra fee may be added to your fine amount and your case may be referred for collection. This extra fee is called a “civil assessment,” which can be up to $300. You could also be charged with a misdemeanor, and the court can issue a warrant for your arrest.

Again, if you appear to respond to your ticket, either in person or by calling the court, you will avoid these fines and fees and this will also allow the court to consider any financial hardship or ability to pay issues that you wish to present.

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