The process of paying a bail bond, forfeiting bail, and paying traffic tickets can be a complicated process. Normally, you cannot pay your fine or forfeit bail until your ticket or citation has been processed by the court. If you have not received a reminder from the court within 10 days of the court date, which is usually 45 to 60 days after the ticket was issued, but noted on your ticket, check the Traffic Case Info on the County Court’s website.
Note: Bail is not always required if you want to fight your ticket, but if you want to use a Trial by Declaration (TBD) or you want a trial date that is different than your arraignment date, you might need to post a bail bond.
Posting Bail Bond for Traffic Tickets
If you want to forfeit your bail or pay your fine, which is the same thing when you just pay your fine you are pleading guilty, you can Google the County Court, such as Kern or Kings County Traffic Court or Superior Court and then choose traffic division. You can then pay your fine online, by phone, or in person at the Clerk’s Office with a personal check, a cashier’s check, money order, credit/debit card, or cash (in person only).
You cannot pay online if you have a mandatory court appearance, which is usually the case with major infractions, such as speeding 100+ mph or reckless driving, or for misdemeanors and felonies, but if you cannot pay online you can ask at the County Clerk’s office.
If you wish to make monthly payments, you must appear in person at the county clerk’s office for the first payment and pay at least 10% of the fine. You can also ask the judge at the time they set the fine amount to consider your income, to make payments, or both. When you make monthly payments there is a $35 administration fee added to the total amount and if you pay by credit/debit card, a $6.45 fee will be added, likewise for an Electronic Fund Transfer an additional $1.95 per transaction will be added, so the longer it takes you to pay the more you will pay, but it’s convenient right?
Getting Your Day in Court
So, you decided to plead not guilty, which of course is the wisest decision almost every time, but it is even wiser to consult a traffic ticket attorney before you make that choice because there are times it is wiser to just pay the fine and go to traffic school, but ask a traffic ticket lawyer.
When you have questions about a TBD, you can go to the Bigger & Harman webpage for an explanation or just call Bigger & Harman and ask if this is a good course of action for your ticket. If you choose a TBD, remember you will need to pay a bail bond, which will be refunded if you are not guilty.
Another choice is to go to arraignment or have a traffic ticket attorney go for you and request a separate date for trial. When you request a separate date for trial, you must pay the bail bond amount, which will be refunded when you are found not guilty, but if you FTA, you will forfeit your bail and additional fees will be added, which will nearly double your fine, your license could be suspended, and a $300 civil fee could be added.
When your attorney goes to court to represent you and you are found not guilty, your bail will be refunded to you if you were the name on the check or money order, normally within 30 days. If you have a change of address between the time you posted the bail bond and the not guilty finding, you should go to the county clerk’s office and make sure they have the right address.
Bail Bond, the Judicial Council of CA and Each County
The Judicial Council of California publishes the statewide Uniform Bail & Penalty Schedule; however, each county normally publishes their own schedule and has the discretion to change the bail amount depending on county surcharges and penalties. Additionally, an individual judge can order bail for major infractions, misdemeanors, and felony traffic violations that is higher than those published depending on the number of previous offenses and the individual’s record of payment or Failure to Appear (FTA).
Traffic Ticket Defenders
When you need answers to questions about bail for a traffic ticket or need legal assistance for In Kings, Fresno, or Kern County, call Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300 for a FREE phone consultation. When you have a court date or an arraignment Visalia, Bakersfield, Tulare, Fresno, or any of the Central Valley traffic courts or an arraignment in a SoCal court in LA, San Bernardino, or Riverside email: firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an office visit.
You can even contact them now on their Facebook page.
En español, llame al 661-349-9755.