What Happens if You Get a Traffic Ticket and Never Pay It

August 31, 2018

Speeding tickets in California can be costly, with the average fine running anywhere between $234 and $480. For this reason, it is not uncommon for violators to ignore their traffic citations and just hope that they’ll go away. If you’re thinking about doing this, don’t, as ignoring a traffic ticket can result in additional adverse consequences.

Consequences for Ignoring a Traffic Ticket in California

The penalties for failing to pay a traffic fine start off minimal but grow progressively worse the longer one puts off payment. The traffic ticket lawyers at The Ticket Clinic provide a brief look at what you can expect for failing to pay your ticket for reckless driving in California:

  • Increased Fines: If you miss the deadline to pay your traffic ticket, your fine will increase. Depending on the wording of your ticket, it may increase a small percentage, or it may double.
  • Added Points to Your Record: Your failure to pay your traffic fine may result in additional points on your record. More points means higher insurance costs, suspended license and DMV fines and fees.
  • License Suspension: If you don’t pay your ticket, you may receive a notice informing you that your license will be suspended. You will be given time to rectify the situation, but if you fail to do so in the allotted time frame, your license will be suspended.
  • Warrant for Your Arrest:If, even after receiving a notice of license suspension you continue to ignore your ticket, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. If you are pulled over a second time or stopped by the police for any reason, you may be sentenced to jail time or community service.

As you can see, the consequences of ignoring a speeding ticket are much costlier than the ticket itself. If you can’t or don’t want to pay, you have options outside of simply ignoring the citation.

Paying a ticket late is a bad idea. You can be assessed a late fee of $300. If you still don’t pay, it can be sent to a collection agency, and you may be subject to wage garnishments or bank levies. If you are experiencing cash flow problems and can pay at a later date, it is possible to request an extension on your traffic ticket. You must do this before the payment is due. You can make the request in writing, in person, or by phone.

What happens if you can’t pay a traffic ticket? Are their special considerations in place for those who don’t have the money to pay their ticket? The answer is yes. There are some steps you can take if paying your ticket is a financial hardship. You have the right to ask the court to consider your circumstances. Note that you need to meet certain poverty guidelines for your request to be granted. You may get the cost of your ticket reduced or receive an alternative to full payment, such as community service.

It’s crucial that you follow all the instructions and observe the deadlines on your ticket if you take this route. Also, to reduce fines, your case must be adjudicated. This means you must plead guilty or be found guilty by the court. You cannot contest the charge and claim financial hardship at the same time.

If you’re worried about not paying a traffic ticket, contact a traffic attorney. California can add some stiff fines and penalties for failure to pay. Appearing in court to respond to the ticket avoids extra penalties. This also gives you a chance to present financial hardship issues or request an extension. Even if your case has been referred to collections, you may request an ability-to-pay determination. A good traffic attorney can help you wade through your options.

Retain the Help of a Traffic Lawyer

Whether you received a ticket for speeding or texting and driving in California, ignoring a traffic ticket is never a good idea. Contact the experienced ticket lawyers at The Ticket Clinic to fight the citation the right way.