Traffic Ticket FAQ in Kentucky
What do I do if I get a traffic ticket in KY?
First, look at “Date/Time" section of your citation; this will include information about your court date and time and which county's courthouse you must visit.
Then, determine whether you want to plead guilty, pay your fine, and incur other penalties, or plead not guilty and fight your ticket in court. Both carry pros and cons. For example, if you plead guilty, you might get the chance to enroll in traffic school to satisfy the ticket and avoid points, but if you've already been in the last 12 months, traffic school isn't an option for you. On the other hand, if you plead not guilty and fight your ticket, you could win and avoid fines and penalties, but you could lose and have to pay everything plus incur penalties.
How can I get a traffic ticket dismissed?
- Fight the ticket in court and win. Often, traffic ticket attorneys help drivers in these situations.
- Request KY traffic school. Technically, this won't dismiss the ticket, but it will prevent it from appearing on your public three-year driving record. You won't accumulate points for the violation, either, nor will you have to pay the fine. You will have to pay court costs and school costs, though.
- Correct the offense. For example, if an officer catches you without current proof of insurance, you might be given a certain amount of time to show you actually have coverage―you were just, unfortunately, driving without proof that day.
What if I have a Kentucky CDL and get a traffic ticket?
Notify your employer within 30 days of receiving the violation; if the violation is an out-of-state one, notify the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, too.
Your exact fines and penalties will depend on the violation, but understand that CDL holders who get traffic tickets sometimes face stiffer penalties than do regular drivers―plus, these penalties affect their livelihoods. Consult the state's CDL Manual for full details.
What if I am a minor and get a traffic ticket?
Drivers younger than 18 years old face penalties related to moving forward in the licensing process (from permit to intermediate, and so on) as well as stricter point penalties. See the question below for details.
Drivers younger than 21 years old face license suspension if they're caught driving with a BAC of .02% or higher.
What are the penalties for getting a traffic ticket while driving during the permit and intermediate phases?
Teens convicted of traffic violations during the permit or intermediate phases of the licensing process must begin their waiting period of 180 days all over again (from the date of the violation).
So, let's say you have a permit and you're 120 days into the waiting period before you can apply for your intermediate license. If you're ticketed, and found guilty, you must start the waiting period all over again beginning on the date of the violation. You lose those 120 days you've already accumulated.
Drivers younger than 18 years old who get enough traffic tickets to face an interview with a Transportation Cabinet representative; 7 points or more could lead to a license suspension. Learn more on our traffic ticket fines and penalties page.
Will taking a motorcycle safety course help me with a traffic ticket I got while riding?
It's not likely, but it's not impossible.
Kentucky has a specific traffic school system in place―Kentucky State Traffic School―and the system includes certain online, classroom, and video/DVD courses. Generally, drivers given the option to enroll in traffic school must enroll in one of those courses, and they're all geared toward regular passenger vehicles.
Still, when you request the option to attend traffic school, you can ask about a motorcycle course alternative.
Can I enroll in traffic school to reduce the number of driver's license points on my driving record?
Yes―if you haven't attended traffic school in the last 12 months and if the court approves it. You must go through the same request process as someone who wants to attend traffic school to satisfy a citation.
Refer to our Traffic School section for details.
Why is it a good idea to order a driving record?
Your driving record holds the tally for points you've accrued due to traffic violations; having a copy of it means knowing how close you are to penalties such as license suspension.
Consider ordering a copy of your driving record whenever:
- You complete traffic school to satisfy a ticket or reduce points.
- You're found not guilty of a traffic violation. (Make sure no points were added.)
- You're found guilty of a traffic violation. (Make sure only the appropriate number of points were added.)
What is the cost of my traffic ticket?
Your traffic ticket cost depends on your violation and your court costs, but finding this information is easy. Just look at the box on the bottom or back of your KY traffic ticket marked “Offense(s) Cited." This box includes how much you owe for both the ticket fine and the court cost.
How many points will I get if convicted?
The KY Point System assigns points according to the violation; you could get anywhere from 3 points to 6 points depending on your offense. The number increases with the number of violations you're convicted of.
Are traffic ticket fines the same throughout the state?
Yes. KY traffic ticket fines vary by violation, but overall they're standard throughout the state. For example, if you're cited for driving 15 miles over the speed limit, your fine in one part of the state should be the same as it would be in another part of the state.
Always check your ticket for your exact costs, and contact your court if the information is missing or unclear.
How can I find a lost traffic ticket online?
If it's an option for you, you can:
- Visit the Kentucky Court of Justice website feature for searching Kentucky court records online.
- Use the “Search by Party" option as it only require your full name. (Unless you know the citation or case number, in which case you can use one of those options.)
If you find your citation, use the information the system provides to help your court locate the ticket. If you don't find your citation that way (and not everyone will), visit our Lost Traffic Ticket sections for other options.
When is it a good idea to hire a traffic ticket attorney?
Consider hiring a traffic ticket lawyer whenever you:
- Face criminal charges.
- Want to fight your ticket in court but don't feel confident enough to represent yourself.
- Want to ask the judge for a plea deal involving lesser charges and penalties.
- Want to appeal a guilty verdict.
How many driving record points can I accumulate before the state suspends my driver's license?
Once you accumulate 12 points or more in 2 years (or 7 points or more, if you're younger than 18 years old) the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's Division of Driver Licensing (DDL) will contact you about your driving habits and possible ways to reduce your points. The DDL might require you to meet with a Cabinet representative. If you don't appear for the interview, you face license suspension.
Accumulating 12 points or more in 2 years (or 7 points or more, if you're younger than 18 years old) often means license suspension for:
- 6 months, the 1st time.
- 1 year, the 2nd time.
- 2 years, subsequent times.
Refer to our section on the KY Point System for more information.