In the past, it was almost impossible to fight traffic ticket(s) without
first paying the fine in the form of “bail” prior to going
to court. Even now there are instances where you must still pay the fine
amount to fight traffic ticket(s), such as Trial by Written Declaration
or when you physically or by mail (must be postmarked 5 days before the
appear date by either registered or certified mail) notify the court’s
clerk of your intention to plead not guilty, and ask for a separate date.
In both cases, you must pay the amount of the fine and if found not guilty
that amount will be refunded.
There are other instances where you may be required to pay bail, such as:
· There is a law that requires bail for that offense
· You refuse to sign your ticket
· A judge refuses bail with explanation
Explanation of Options
Although 1 May 2017 is an important date for many with traffic court dates
in California, it really does not change much. You are still responsible
for appearing on or before the date set for your appearance and announce
one of three pleadings, guilty, no contest, or not guilty. 1 May, is the
date after which
“all courts are required to mail a notice to you that explains your options” in the State of California.
Your Signature on the Traffic Ticket
The law enforcement (LE) officer that issues you the ticket is required
to get your signature on the ticket that contains the date and location
of the court you are to appear in, or if you refuse to sign, take you
to jail. Your signature represents a contract with the State that you
will appear on or before the date prescribed and “Failure to Appear”
(FTA) will result in additional fines.
An FTA, which could add $500 to $1000 to your ticket, could result in you
having to fight traffic ticket(s) just to keep your license and stay out
of jail. In LA County, California, as it is all over the state, the penalty
for FTA is linked to the original reason for your having to appear. If
you were charged with a traffic infraction or a misdemeanor, your FTA
charge is likely a misdemeanor; if however, it was a felony, then your
FTA will likely be a felony as well.
Amnesty Extensions and Amnesty for Infractions
3 April 2017 marked the last day to request a new enrollment of statewide
amnesty for unpaid tickets; however, several cities and counties have
extensions to the amnesty program, so if you have unpaid tickets or fines,
it would be advisable to
contact the courthouse where you owe the money to find out how your situation applies.
If you have already been convicted and ordered to pay but could not afford
to pay the fine, you can ask the court to consider your income and ability
to pay or ask for an installment plan.
Additionally, in Los Angeles you can call 1-800-950-6280 or en español,
1-800-939-8068 for questions related to traffic ticket amnesty, reduced
fines (although your best opportunity to get a reduced fine is in the
courtroom face-to-face with the judge), or installments.
CA.gov for additional information on the amnesty program in general.
In Los Angeles, Call Bigger & Harman
In Los Angeles County, just as in Kings, Kern, or Inyo County and other
California Counties, call Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300, before you
decide how or whether you should fight traffic ticket(s) for violations
for which you have been accused. Not every ticket is worth fighting, but
for those that are, you need solid legal advice. Email our office with
a scanned copy of your citation and a brief explanation to:
firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange your FREE consultation. Don’t go it alone.
En español, llame al 661-349-9755.