Traffic Ticket FAQ in Alabama
What do I do if I get a traffic ticket in AL?
You have two main options. You can:
- Plead guilty and pay the fine, as well as experience any other related penalties, or,
- Plead not guilty and contest the ticket in court.
There are variables, of course. For example, some drivers can pay plead guilty and pay their tickets online, over the phone, or by mail; others must appear in court. Some get the opportunity to attend a defensive driving school to have the ticket dismissed; others aren't eligible.
How can I get a traffic ticket dismissed?
Depending on your situation, you can:
- Complete a state-approved defensive driving school. You must appear in court to request this, but understand it isn't an option for everyone.
- Fight the ticket in court and win. Often, drivers hire traffic ticket attorneys to help them when they choose this option.
Sometimes, a driver can get a ticket dismissed if he's able to prove he wasn't in complete violation of the law. For example, if a police officer pulls you over and discovers you're not carrying proof of insurance, he may write you a ticket but also give you the option to show proof within a certain number of days, and have the ticket dismissed. This possibility is up to the officer, court, and your personal situation.
What if I have a Alabama CDL and get a traffic ticket?
First, notify your employer. You have exactly 30 days from the day you are convicted. This does not apply to parking violations. If you were ticketed out of state, and convicted, you'll need to notify the DPS, too.
Second, understand that while your basic “plead guilty and pay" or “plead not guilty and fight" steps might be the same, your final penalties can be much steeper than those of someone with a regular driver's license.
What if I am in the GDL program and get a traffic ticket?
Your overall options (to plead guilty or not guilty) are the same, but your penalties depend on the violation. For example, if you're convicted of violating a GDL restriction, it will be considered a traffic violation but you won't receive a citation or points and you won't have to deal with any criminal charges or court costs.
On the other hand, if the violation is related to speeding, reckless driving, illegally passing, or a host of other moving and related violations, your license will be suspended for 60 days.
Will taking a motorcycle safety course help me with a traffic ticket I got while riding?
Perhaps. Sometimes, drivers are allowed to enroll in a state-approved defensive driving school for ticket dismissal purposes. Judges determine whether this option is allowed on a case-by-case basis, and drivers must appear in court to request it. If you were on your motorcycle when you received the ticket, ask your judge about attending a motorcycle course in lieu of a traditional driving school.
Can I enroll in defensive driving school to reduce the number of driver's license points on my driving record?
No. The driving school option is only available for ticket dismissal.
Why is it a good idea to order a driving record?
When you order a driving record, you can find out things like:
- How many points you have, and how close to suspension or revocation you are.
- Whether a traffic violation shows up on your record, even if you completed defensive driving school to have the ticket dismissed.
- If you received the appropriate number of points for a guilty verdict (or no points for a not guilty verdict).
What is the cost of my traffic ticket?
Not only does the cost of your traffic ticket depend on the violation, but also it depends on where you were ticketed. For example, the ticket fine for improperly passing another vehicle doesn't cost the same throughout the state.
Most AL traffic tickets include the cost printed on the ticket; however, some tickets don't include the violation or the cost, and require the driver to appear in court. If your ticket doesn't include any information about the ticket fine, contact your court.
NOTE: Your overall cost will include the traffic fine plus any court costs and other surcharges your court charges.
How many points will I get if convicted?
You could receive between 2 points and 6 points in Alabama, and the number you get depends on the violation (or violations).
For example, if you're convicted of making an improper turn, you'll get 2 points; if you're convicted of making an improper turn and failing to use a signal, you'll receive 2 points each.
Are traffic ticket fines the same throughout the state of Alabama?
No, and neither are court costs and other surcharges. Check your traffic ticket for the fine amount, but if it's not printed (or your violation isn't on the ticket and you're required to appear in court), you can get more specific information about your fine and overall costs and fees by contacting your court.
How can I find a lost traffic ticket online?
You can't, but you can contact your court or the Alabama Traffic Service Center to hunt it down. Head over to our Lost Traffic Ticket page to find out how.
When is it a good idea to hire a traffic ticket attorney?
People consider hiring traffic ticket lawyers whenever they decide to plead not guilty and fight their tickets in court―especially if their tickets are related to DUI or other criminal activities.
How many driving record points can I accumulate before the state suspends my driver's license?
- 12 through 14 points: 60 days.
- 15 through 17 points: 90 days.
- 18 through 20 points: 120 days.
- 21 through 23 points: 180 days
- 24 points or more: 365 days.
Point accumulation is based on a period of 2 years. For example, if you get 12 through 14 points within 2 years, your license is suspended for 60 days.
Our section on the AL point system provides further details.