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How to Pay for a Traffic Ticket When You Can’t Afford It

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In California, there is no such thing anymore as a cheap fine. In fact, fines for a traffic ticket have skyrocketed in the past 20 years, and CA has some of the highest fines in the country, fourth highest overall. A conviction on a red-light ticket will cost nearly $500 after state and county fees and assessments, the highest of its kind in the nation. However, there are options if you can't afford to pay your traffic ticket in California. You can either fight it, accept guilt, or ask the court to consider your income, and possibly pay through an installment plan. 


How to Get an Installment Plan for Your Traffic Ticket 

The Superior Court of Los Angeles offers an affordable installment plan to pay your traffic ticket without the costs of standing before a judge. Agreeing to any payment plan means you accept guilt and your record will be affected. You must also sign an installment agreement, pay at least ten percent of the total fine with the first installment, plus fees, and forfeit bail. Never accept an installment plan or pay a collection agency before consulting with a traffic ticket attorney.

Los Angeles Traffic Courts

Paying your ticket online can be a viable optionIt depends which county you received your infraction in, but the Los Angeles County Courts only allow online payments after the court clerk or judge initiates an installment plan. You cannot initiate an installment plan online. The option of paying online is more convenient since their hours of operation are only Monday through Thursday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and Friday from 8:30 until Noon. For certain correctable or “fix-it” tickets, you must show proof of correction, such as a mechanic’s receipt for a broken taillight, to a Los Angeles law enforcement officer who will sign your ticket, usually after checking the taillight. Then, the court will dismiss the ticket upon paying any necessary handling fees. 


Consult with a Traffic Ticket Attorney 


Hiring a lawyer may be a cheaper option for you. An experienced traffic lawyer can help you avoid the consequences and fees of your alleged violation. It's vital to consult with a traffic ticket lawyer for the LA area to advise you about your options and ultimately to defend your rights and driving record if necessary. 

Not all traffic tickets can be dismissed or reduced but consulting a traffic law attorney will help you make an informed decision. California has several tools you can utilize to pay, correct, or fight your ticket. With the appropriate fees and paperwork, an installment plan might be the best choice. An installment plan is an excellent option if you can't afford to pay your ticket all at once. Paying your fees online may be a cheaper option as well. The courts have limited hours, so this is a convenient way to pay without driving to the court. 

However, speaking with a traffic lawyer for the LA area is the wisest decision you can make. Hiring an experienced lawyer is often much cheaper than paying your fine and increased auto insurance premiums. 

Los Angeles Traffic Ticket Defense

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, when you need expert legal advice about traffic law. CA fines are expensive, but the fine is often just the tip of the iceberg. The average Californian pays $1960 annually for auto insurance, and a 20 percent hike from losing your “good driver’s” discount will raise your rate by nearly $500 annually.  You can believe the 20 percent lost discount will not be the only increase, the auto insurance company will likely put you in an increased risk category as well. 

Another consideration is your motor vehicle driving record. Once a conviction or paid ticket for a minor infraction is placed on your record it will stay there for 36-39 months, and a misdemeanor conviction for seven to ten years, affecting your insurance premiums the entire time. Call Bigger & Haman, APC for legal advice you can trust, that won’t break your budget.      

Email attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com with your questions. Include a copy of the ticket, and we will reply as soon as we come back to the office.    

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Se habla Español 661.349.9755.

References:

The 2018 CA Driver Handbook .pdf

The DMV.CA.GOV portal

The 2018 California Superior Court Bail Schedule for Infractions and Misdemeanors.pdf

The Los Angeles County Superior Court website