Fight Traffic Ticket in AlaskaPage Overview
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
- Pay the fine (or deal with the “correctable offense”).
- Accumulate driving record points (and risk license suspension or revocation).
- Pay higher auto insurance rates.
- Possibly enroll in a defensive driving course for point reduction or ticket dismissal.
Learn more about
Paying your Traffic Ticket »
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Fight the ticket in court.
- Defend yourself or hire a traffic ticket attorney to represent you.
- Give up any possibility of pleading to lesser charges with lesser penalties.
- Experience no fines or penalties if found not guilty (except for any related court costs and lawyer fees).
- Appeal the guilty verdict (if applicable).
Fighting your AK traffic ticket means pleading not guilty―letting the court know you’re contesting the ticket―and appearing in court to plead your case.
Often, contesting a ticket means giving up any chance of receiving a plea deal or enrolling in a defensive driving course for ticket dismissal.
The bottom line is, there are risks. You could fight your ticket and win, which means you won’t have to pay traffic ticket fines or deal with any penalties like incurring points (though you may have to pay certain court costs or surcharges). On the other hand, you could fight the ticket and lose, which means you’ll be responsible for your fine, related court costs and surcharges, and penalties.
Pleading Guilty or No Contest
Generally, pleading guilty or no contest means paying the ticket online or in another manner applicable to your violation or location (by mail or in person are the two most common payment options) and skipping a court appearance unless the ticket states you must appear in court.
Refer to our Paying Your Traffic Ticket page to learn more about pleading guilty and paying the traffic ticket fine.
Handling a “Correctable Offense”
Usually, a driver who’s cited for a “correctable offense” can show up at the appropriate court or other government agency, show the problem has been corrected, and go on about his day.
Tickets for correctable offenses state that they’re for correctable offenses and include instructions on how to correct the problem and show proof of the correction.
Avoid Additional Charges
If you plead not guilty and fail to appear in court, you could receive a default judgment of guilty, plus have a warrant issued for your arrest. Each of these penalties carries additional fees, which are in addition to the regular traffic ticket fines, court costs, and related surcharges.
Contact your court if you believe you can’t make it to your scheduled hearing.
Locate the Court
Where you’ll handle the ticket depends on whether it’s a city or county ticket. City tickets are handled directly with the city; generally, other tickets are handled on county levels.
Most AK traffic tickets have this information printed on them; if yours doesn’t, contact the court system to determine where you’ll handle the ticket.
Schedule Your Hearing
Some AK traffic tickets give you the opportunity to schedule a hearing by marking the appropriate “plead not guilty” box, mail the ticket to the appropriate authorities, and wait for a court date; others indicate that you’re required to appear in court and already include a date.
Check both sides of your ticket for this information; if you can’t determine which course of action your particular ticket or violation requires, contact the court system for specific details. Be prepared to provide information such as your driver’s license number and your citation number.
Rescheduling or Postponing Your Hearing
Contact your court as soon as you realize you can’t make your court date. Allowing the date to slip past without showing up only puts you at risk for a guilty judgment, additional fees, and an arrest warrant.
Once you have a court date, consider hiring a traffic ticket lawyer. An attorney skilled in Alaska’s traffic laws can help you prepare your case and increase your chances of getting the best possible verdict.
There are several ways you can prepare for your hearing, with or without an attorney. Consider:
- Gathering evidence that proves your innocence.
- Talking with witnesses who were at the scene, and finding out if they’ll testify for you.
- Practicing your testimony (if your lawyer isn’t going to do all the talking on your behalf).
During your hearing, the judge most likely will:
- Listen to the police officer’s testimony and view any evidence.
- Hear your testimony (or listen to your attorney, should you decide not to testify for yourself).
- Listen to any witnesses you or the officer bring.
- Review evidence you bring.
- Make a judgment.
If you’re found not guilty, you might have to pay some court-related fees, but otherwise the ordeal will be over.
If you’re found guilty, on the other hand, you’ll have to pay your traffic ticket, any associated fees and surcharges, and deal with penalties. Typically, judges discuss these penalties after giving judgment. Expect to incur points, and if you already have a certain number of points on your driving record, you might even face license suspension or revocation. Refer to our section on the AK Point System for details.
Filing an Appeal
You can appeal a guilty verdict. After your hearing, talk with a clerk about filing a Notice of Appeal; he or she will provide you or your attorney with all the necessary paperwork.
After your hearing, there are two reasons you’ll want to check your driving record.
First, if you were found not guilty, you’ll want to make sure that no points were added to your driving record.
Second, if you were found guilty, you’ll want to make sure that only the applicable number of points were added to your driving record.
Accumulating too many points on your record can lead to license suspension or revocation, and if you catch them on time you can have them corrected (if they were incorrectly added) or reduce them by taking a defensive driving course. Our section on the AK point system provides details.
A guilty verdict can bring more than fines, surcharges, and penalties―it can also bring higher auto insurance rates.
If you’re found guilty, talk with your car insurance agent about the possibility of a rate increase the next time you renew your policy; if you find out your rates will increase at renewal time, start comparing auto insurance rates online for lower premiums.Other Topics in This Section