Pay Traffic Ticket in California
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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 »
Types of Traffic Tickets in CA
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).
Responding to Your CA Ticket
Understand that opting to pay your traffic ticket basically means you're pleading guilty, which generally means you'll deal with all associated consequences such as having the infraction on your driving record, incurring driving record points, and possibly even license suspension or revocation (depending on the infraction and/or how many driving record points you already have).
Plead Guilty as a CDL Driver
Pleading guilty as a CDL driver doesn't differ much from pleading guilty as a passenger-vehicle driver; however, as a CDL driver, you must notify your employer within 30 days of your conviction.
For more information, refer to the California Commercial Driver Handbook.
How to Pay Your CA Traffic Ticket
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.
Fix a Correctable Violation Ticket
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.
Driving School & Ticket Dismissal
As mentioned above, you might be eligible to complete an approved traffic school to potentially offset any points added to your driving record. Generally, this option is only available if your offense was for an eligible moving violation, and must be approved by your judge.
For more details, refer to our guide to Traffic Schools in California.
Check Your Driving Record
Whether you plead “guilty" and pay your fine, complete a traffic school, or fight your traffic ticket and win, check your driving record to make sure it reflects the appropriate outcome.
Inaccurate information on your driving record could lead to license suspension or revocation, and even prevent you from obtaining certain kinds of employment.
California Traffic Tickets: FAQs
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.