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No matter how good a driver you are, you may find yourself on the receiving end of a traffic ticket. Everyone makes mistakes, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time is all it takes. If you are like most people who have never received a ticket before, you may not even know what happens next. The process is actually quite simple. This short guide will explain everything you need to know about what to do after receiving a traffic ticket.
Paying the Ticket
You have two options when you receive a ticket:
- Pay it
- Fight it
If you choose to pay the ticket, then it really is as simple as paying the amount listed on the ticket. Several different payment options will likely be listed on the ticket itself, as well as instructions on how you can pay it. If you need to enter into a payment plan, that is usually an option as well.
After paying a ticket, your license will likely receive a certain number of points which depends on the severity of the infraction. If you attend traffic school, you can have these points removed. Traffic school is far from mandatory, but if you receive too many points, you may lose your license for good. It is always recommended that you attend traffic school.
Fighting the Ticket
If you think the ticket was unjust, you may take the other option, which is to fight the ticket. If you take this route, you need to appear in court at the date listed. Before you go to the courthouse, however, you should hire an attorney. Representing yourself is never a good idea.
In some very extreme cases, you may have to appear in court even if you have no plans to fight the ticket. The issuing officer and the ticket itself will make it clear if this is the case. Most of the time, paying the ticket is enough and you do not need to go to court as well. Signing the ticket at the time it was issued is an agreement that you will either pay or fight it. Signing a ticket does not remove your right to refute it.
Not Paying the Ticket
If you do not pay or fight the ticket, the consequences will be greater. A warrant for your arrest may be put out, the amount you owe may be increased, or you may lose your license. Always address a ticket when you receive one and hire a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, CA if you choose to fight the ticket.
Thanks to the Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal law and what happens after getting a driving ticket.