Pay Traffic Ticket in California
Continue reading this page for instructions on how to pay your traffic ticket in California.
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
- Pay the fine.
- Pay to go to traffic school.
- Provide proof of correction if you receive a ticket for a “correctable violation" (e.g., fixing a broken taillight or providing proof of car registration).
- Possibly incur points on your driving record.
- Possible increase in auto insurance rates.
(Plead Not Guilty)
- A court trial by a judicial officer.
- A trial by mail, or what is often called a “trial by written declaration."
- Choose to represent yourself in court or hire an attorney.
- Possibly forfeit option to plea bargain for lesser charges.
- No penalties if found "guilty" but must pay court and legal fees.
Learn more about
Fighting your Traffic Ticket »
In California, there are two different types of traffic tickets you can receive:
- Infraction traffic tickets for minor violations, such as:
- Running a stop sign.
- Misdemeanor traffic tickets for serious crimes, such as:
- Driving without a valid driver's license.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI).
Infraction Traffic Tickets
If you receive an infraction traffic ticket, you have the following options:
- Pay the fine.
- Complete traffic school to avoid points going on your CA driving record (for eligible moving violations only).
- Fix the problem (for correctable violation tickets) and provide proof (see instructions below). Examples of violations include:
- Driving without your driver's license.
- Driving with an expired vehicle registration.
- Broken taillight.
- Fight your traffic ticket.
If you wish to simply pay the fine, you will not need to appear in California traffic court.
Misdemeanor Traffic Tickets
If you receive a misdemeanor traffic ticket for a serious violation, you will need to appear in court regardless of whether you want to pay the fine or fight the ticket. Your CA traffic ticket should have complete instructions.
At your court hearing, you will be informed of:
- Your total fine amount and payment methods.
- Other penalties, such as:
- Driving record points.
- Jail time.
- Mandatory completion of a defensive driving course.
Depending on which California county you received your traffic ticket in, you may be able to pay it:
- By mail.
- By phone.
- In person.
NOTE: If your traffic ticket doesn't state how much you must pay, contact the CA county court listed on your ticket.
Follow the instructions listed on your CA traffic ticket to pay your fine.
Be sure to pay your traffic ticket fine by the due date (found on the ticket) to avoid additional fines and penalties, including a driver's license suspension.
If you received a correctable violation ticket or “fix-it" ticket, you may be given the following options:
- Show proof to the CA court that you've fixed the problem.
- You will need to pay a dismissal fee.
- Pay the required fine.
To show proof you've fixed the problem listed on your traffic ticket, you'll need to:
- Have your traffic ticket signed by an authorized person, either:
- A police officer (for “fix-it" tickets given for equipment violations).
- The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) (for violations relating to driver's licenses and vehicle registrations).
- A CA court clerk (for violations relating to car insurance, driver's licensing, and vehicle registrations).
- Submit your signed traffic ticket and proof of the correction to the CA court handling your case.
- Pay the required fee to dismiss the charge.
NOTE: Be sure to fix the problem and provide proof to the California court by the deadline date listed on your traffic ticket to avoid additional penalties.
Check your CA traffic ticket or contact the relevant court for complete instructions, including:
- How to submit your proof of correction (i.e., by mail or in person).
- Accepted payment methods.
Once you've paid your traffic ticket, your violation will show up on your California driving record. Depending on your violation, you may also have points added to your record.
NOTE: If you completed traffic school, points won't be added to your driving record, but the violation will still show up.
It's important to check your CA driving record after receiving a traffic ticket to make sure it's accurate and reflects the correct number of points depending on your situation.
An increase in points can lead to higher auto insurance rates and a suspended California driver's license.
If you face higher insurance rates, shop for a cheaper option online today!
If you still have questions about how to deal with your CA traffic ticket, visit our Traffic Ticket FAQ page. You'll find more information about:
- Correcting a “fix-it" ticket problem.
- Hiring a traffic ticket lawyer.
- Mandatory court appearances.
- The importance of driving records.
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