Traffic Ticket FAQ in Louisiana
What do I do if I get a traffic ticket in LA?
Determine whether you want to plead guilty or no contest and pay the ticket fine, or plead not guilty and fight the ticket in court.
For some, pleading guilty or no contest means paying the fine online or by mail and continuing on with their lives; for others, it means admitting to an offense that brings license suspension or revocation.
This potential penalties (and the believe they're innocent) is why some drivers choose to contest their tickets and go to court.
How can I get a traffic ticket dismissed?
- Fight the ticket in court and win.
- Complete a driver improvement course. Not all courts offer this option.
What if I have a Louisiana CDL and get a traffic ticket?
Just like any other driver, you'll plead guilty or no contest and pay, or you'll plead not guilty and fight the ticket in court.
The only “extra" things CDL drivers need to remember are:
- To notify their employers within 30 days of receiving the citations.
- That guilty pleas or verdicts can damage their careers (depending on the violation).
Learn more about CDL driver penalties at Ticket Fines and Penalties.
What if I get a traffic conviction as a teenager?
Louisiana does impose some stricter penalties for minors, but those penalties depend on the exact violation.
For example, adult drivers aren't banned from talking on cellular phones while driving, but minors are banned from using both cellular phones and any other text messaging device. Penalty? License suspension.
To know for sure, you must contact your court with information about the violation.
What are the penalties for a DWI conviction if I'm younger than 21 years old?
Massive amounts of license suspension. You can lose your driving privileges for 180 days for a 1st conviction, and 1 year for a 2nd conviction.
These suspensions are in addition to DWI-related fines and any other penalties the judge wants to impose.
Will taking a motorcycle safety course help me with a traffic ticket I got while riding?
Some courts allow drivers to enroll in state-approved driver improvement programs for ticket dismissal. Generally, these are four-wheeled passenger vehicle courses, but your judge might consider a motorcycle course if that's the vehicle you were on at the time of the violation.
It's a good idea to ask the court before you show up with the impression you can take a motorcycle course.
Why is it a good idea to order a driving record?
Auto insurance agents, landlords, potential employers―these days, people look at driving records for a number of reasons. Having a copy of yours will help you make sure what's supposed to be there is, and what's not supposed to be there, isn't.
You can make sure:
- No violation appears after you complete a driver improvement course for ticket dismissal .
- The OMV removes violations after they've been on your record the allotted amount of time.
- No violation appears if you're found not guilty in court.
- Only the applicable violations appear if plead or are found guilty in court.
- The record reflects any plea agreement you (and your attorney) worked out with the judge.
Learn how to order your driving record.
What is the cost of my traffic ticket?
Your total traffic ticket costs vary by:
- The actual traffic ticket fine, which varies by violation and court.
- Court costs, which vary by court.
- Surcharges and other fines, which vary by violation.
Plus, drivers who hire traffic ticket lawyers have to pay legal fees, too.
Learn more in our Ticket Fines and Penalties section.
How long do my violations stay on my driving record?
Most violations stay on for 5 years; DWI-related violations stay on for 10 years. Minor violations stay on your record for 3 years.
If you're not sure what's on your record, consider ordering your driving record today.
Are traffic ticket fines the same throughout the state?
No. Fines vary by court, as do court costs.
How can I find a lost traffic ticket online?
You can't. You must contact your court to get a copy of your lost traffic ticket or retrieve information from the ticket.
Our Lost LA Traffic Ticket section explains it all.
When is it a good idea to hire a traffic ticket attorney?
Hiring a traffic ticket attorney is a good idea whenever you're going into a court of law to make a case for your innocence. These lawyers know the ins and outs of traffic laws (not to mention the court system) and can help you prepare for and present your case.
Give serious consideration to hiring an attorney if you're facing a criminal record, felony criminal record, or long-time loss of your driving privileges.
I heard Louisiana has no point system?
That's correct; however, the state does keep a public driving record for traffic violation convictions (5 years for major violations, 3 years for minor and 10 years if the conviction is a DWI-related violation).
Head over to LA Driving Records to find out what's on yours.