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Failing to Appear

If you fail to take care of a traffic ticket before the deadline, the state may suspend your license without even notifying you directly.

You are also in violation of Vehicle Code Section 40508 if you make a payment arrangement and do not keep it, or make arrangements to take a driving safety class and do not timely present proof of completion.

When an officer gives you a citation for an infraction, your signature on the ticket is your legal promise to appear in court on or before a certain date pay the fine, plead not guilty and set a trial date, make arrangements to take a driving safety course, or otherwise take care of your ticket.

Many times the drivers may mistakenly rely on a "courtesy notice" to tell them when to appear in court, and the notice never comes. But a Lamont or Mojave judge will not accept such an excuse, because the ticket itself has the court information and appearance date in the fine print.

An FTA is always a misdemeanor, meaning that you can be arrested for an FTA violation. There are three absolute defenses to an FTA charge:

A judge may consider other defenses as well; for example, a loved one may have been ill and you were distracted by that illness. As stated above, however, a judge generally does not accept excuses or attempts to blame someone else for your failure to appear. A failure to appear normally requires an in person appearance or a lawyer to appear for you. Oftentimes the fines and assessments in combination with your ticket can be in the thousands of dollars.