Pay Traffic Ticket in IowaPage Overview
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Contest the ticket during a hearing.
- Seek legal counsel or prepare and present the case yourself.
- Have no penalties if found not guilty (except any applicable court/attorney fees).
- Possibly have to attend driver improvement school.
- Appeal the guilty verdict (if applicable).
Learn more about
Fighting your Traffic Ticket »
To pay your Iowa traffic ticket, you must plead guilty or no contest. Pleading guilty means admitting you’re guilty of the offense, and pleading no contest means you don’t want to contest the charge or you realize there’s no convincing case for your innocence.
Pleading guilty or no contest means:
- You might avoid court by paying your fine online or by mail (see below).
- You’ll incur points on your driving record.
- The DOT could suspend, revoke, or bar your license depending on the points and violation.
- The DOT or your judge might order you to enroll in driver improvement school, depending on the violation.
- Your auto insurance rates probably will increase.
You must pay your traffic ticket fine by the date printed on your ticket; failure to do so can result in license suspension, which will last until the court notifies the DOT you’ve paid the full amount.
Sometimes, courts will change the original “scheduled” fine to a “non-scheduled” or “unsecured” fine―meaning the court could increase your fine if you don’t pay on time.
Plead Guilty as a IA CDL Driver
You can plead guilty or no contest in much the same manner as regular drivers; however, you also must:
- Notify your employer after receiving your ticket.
- Understand that certain traffic violations can drastically impact your income and driving career.
Refer to Ticket Fines and Penalties for more information about federally mandated penalties for CDL drivers.
Plead Not Guilty
“Guilty” and “no contest” aren’t your only options.
If you believe you’re innocent or can prove your violation was unavoidable, you might want to fight your ticket in court. Even if the judge doesn’t find you innocent, he might lessen the charge and penalties.
Head over to Fighting Your Traffic Ticket for more details.
Iowa drivers can pay their traffic tickets online via the Iowa Courts Online Payment Search.
- You can’t use this option if your ticket is “non-scheduled” or “unsecured.” For that kind of ticket, you must appear in court.
- You don’t have to have your citation number, but you do have to know which county holds your ticket.
Keep reading for alternative ways to pay your ticket fine.
First, understand that if your ticket is marked “non-scheduled” or “unsecured,” you must appear in court. You cannot use any payment option that doesn’t involve you standing in the courthouse. (You wouldn’t be able to anyway, because your ticket wouldn’t include a total cost.)
Second (as long as your ticket is marked “scheduled”), you can pay your ticket fine in person or by mail to the county clerk’s office in the courthouse handling your ticket. Most traffic citations include the mailing or physical address and acceptable payment methods, but Iowa Judicial Branch website’s Clerk of Court Directory to find addresses, telephone numbers, and office hours.
Acceptable payment methods vary by court and how you choose to pay. For example, depending on your court, you might pay with a money order by mail or a credit card or cash in person. Unless your ticket already includes this information, contact your clerk to find out.
Iowa doesn’t offer any voluntary methods for removing or reducing driving record points because the state’s point system isn’t traditional, i.e. you don’t get points for every kind of violation.
The DOT assigns points for serious violations. Drivers who accumulate these kinds of points become labeled “habitual offenders” and the DOT bars their licenses.
Check Your Driving Record
Points aside, your violation will remain on your driving record for a certain number of years.
After pleading guilty or no contest, check your driving record to make sure only the applicable violation(s) appear(s).
Iowa auto insurance providers rely heavily on driving records when it comes to determining drivers’ rates.
Pleading guilty or no contest is the same as being convicted of a violation, and that conviction might be enough to increase your auto insurance rates the next time you renew your policy.
Talk with your agent about how a guilty plea will affect your policy rates once it’s time to renew, and consider comparing insurance quotes online if you find out you’re facing an increase.Other Topics in This Section