Traffic Ticket FAQ in Delaware

What do I do if I get a traffic ticket in Delaware?

Unless your ticket states you must appear in court (and some do), you have a couple options.

You can choose the voluntary assessment option (the equivalent of other states' "guilty" pleas) and pay your fine, or you can plead "not guilty" and fight the ticket in court.

Each option has pros and cons. For example, if you choose the voluntary assessment option and your ticket was for speeding up to 14 MPH above the speed limit, you won't receive any points on your driving record; the downside is, you'll have to pay a fine and your auto insurance rates could increase.

Likewise, if you choose to plead not guilty, you could win your case in court and avoid fines and penalties; however, if you lose, you must pay all fines and surcharges, plus any option to avoid points disappears.

Check out our Paying Your Traffic Ticket and Fighting Your Traffic Ticket sections to learn more.

How can I get a traffic ticket dismissed?

Delaware courts don't offer traffic or defensive driving school for ticket dismissal, but you can get a ticket dismissed if you fight your ticket in court and win.

Alternatively, if you show up for court and your ticketing officer doesn't, the judge may dismiss the ticket. Generally, this is on a case-by-case basis.

What if I have a DE CDL and get a traffic ticket?

DE CDL drivers must inform their employers within 30 days of being convicted of a traffic violation.

After that, you'll either choose the voluntary assessment option and pay your fine (depending on your violation, this might not be an option), or go to court to fight your ticket or answer the charges.

Understand that, depending on the charge, CDL drivers can face severe penalties, penalties that can even affect their jobs. Learn more at our Traffic Ticket Fines and Penalties section.

What if I am younger than 21 years old and get a DUI ticket?

If you're convicted, your license will be revoked.

Adult drivers younger than 21 years old face license revocation between 2 months and 12 months, (depending on how many offense you've had).

What are the penalties for getting a traffic ticket while driving with a Level One Learner's Permit?

Generally, any violation of the Level One Learner's Permit (including traffic tickets) result in license suspension. Expect a period of between 2 months and 4 months, though this can be at the discretion of the court.

NOTE: You can't move up to a Class D driver's license while your Level One Learner's Permit is suspended.

Learn more in the Delaware Driver Manual.

Will taking a motorcycle safety course help me with a traffic ticket I got while riding?

Not really, because Delaware doesn't allow ticket dismissal or satisfaction by way of traffic or safety courses; however, you can take a motorcycle safety course for auto insurance discounts, which can offset any increase you experience due to the ticket.

Can I take a defensive driving course to reduce the number of driver's license points on my driving record?

Yes. State-approved courses apply a credit of 3 points to your driving record. This means the course will remove 3 points from your record (if you have them) or apply a “credit" to remove those points should you ever accumulate them.

Our DE Defensive Driving section explains it all.

Why is it a good idea to order a driving record?

Having a copy of your driving record means you can check that:

  • Only the applicable number of points were added to your record (if you were found or pleaded guilty).
  • No points were added to your record (if you were found not guilty or your offense was eligible for no points).
  • Your record received the credit of 3 points.

We can help you obtain your DE driving record.

What is the cost of my traffic ticket?

Traffic ticket fines vary by violation and court. You won't pay the same for speeding as you will for reckless driving, and you won't pay the same for either in one court that you'll pay in another.

Your DE traffic citation should have the cost printed on it; if it doesn't, contact your court.

How many points will I get if convicted?

Driving record points range from 2 points to 6 points, and the number you get depends on your violation. For example, if you're convicted of speeding up to 10 miles over the speed limit, you'll get 2 points; if you're convicted of reckless driving, you'll get 6 points.

Note that:

  • You'll receive points for each conviction you receive.
  • You won't receive any points on a speeding ticket of up to 14 MPH over the limit if you choose the voluntary assessment option and pay your fine outright.

Refer to our DE Point System section for more information.

Are traffic ticket fines the same throughout the state?

No. They vary by court.

How can I find a lost traffic ticket online?

You can't; however, you can contact the Voluntary Assessment Center or your court to find the information.

Follow the instructions on our Lost DE Traffic Tickets page.

When is it a good idea to hire a traffic ticket attorney?

Hire a traffic ticket attorney whenever you feel like you need help navigating the court system.

These lawyers can:

  • Help you navigate the court system.
  • Negotiate a plea agreement.
  • Possibly help you get the Probation Before Judgment option.

How many driving record points can I accumulate before the state suspends my driver's license?

Technically, the state will suspend your license for 4 months once you receive 14 points; however, there's more of a system to it than that.

  • 8 points: Warning letter.
  • 12 points: Behavior Modification/Attitudinal Driving Course.
  • 14 points: A suspension of 4 months.
  • 16 points: A suspension of 6 months.
  • 18 points: A suspension of 8 months.
  • 20 points: A suspension of 10 months.
  • 22 points: A suspension of 12 months.
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