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Although we know this is not a common occurrence because a commercial truck driver knows better than to fail to appear (FTA) in traffic court for a traffic ticket, it does happen, and here’s what you should do about it. As soon as you learn of the FTA, consult a traffic ticket attorney.

Typically, a traffic attorney can contact the court and get the FTA removed. This removal is not guaranteed, but you have a much better chance with legal representation. The FTA status must  be resolved before you can act on the original ticket. 

FTA: A Misdemeanor Crime

CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 40508Release Upon Promise to Appear, makes the FTA a misdemeanor crime. The driver who willfully or knowingly does not resolve their citation or show up in court ”… is guilty of a misdemeanor…” 

The statute goes on to explain that this is true regardless of the outcome of the original offense. In other words, even if you are found not guilty of the original traffic ticket that you failed to appear for or pay the fine for, you could still face a criminal record.

There are acceptable reasons for missing a court date. Typically, a traffic court judge will not accept your driving out-of-state as an excuse. However, the valid reasons are:

  • Military service, this includes temporary duty for Reserve or National Guard drills
  • Deportation
  • Hospitalization
  • Incarceration (Jail)

Those are typically the only valid excuse a traffic court judge will accept. However, if you have documentation to prove you did not know of the court date and were out-of-state, a traffic attorney might be able to get the FTA removed.

Do Not Pay Any Collection Agency Without First Consulting an Attorney

When you pay the fine or collection agency, you might unknowingly plead guilty to the original offense. Whether it is an FTA or a Failure to Pay, discuss it with a traffic attorney before you make any payments.

When you receive a notice of FTA Phase One, that means you have 20 days to resolve your FTA and clear the ticket. The court has already put a hold on your license and added a $150 administrative fee on top of the bail or fine for the original charge. 

After 20 days, the DMV will add another $150 fee and could suspend your license. Talk to a traffic ticket attorney.  

Consult a Traffic Ticket Attorney about a Commercial Truck Driver FTA in Truckee, CA

Call Bigger & Harman for a free, no-obligation consultation about your FTA or FTP, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Although it’s not always possible, your best bet is to call us before you get an FTA or suspension. We regularly resolve traffic tickets for CDL holders without their presence, and we can often get the administrative fees removed. However, we cannot guarantee anything without knowing the circumstances. 

Also, we can help you with a DMV Hearing for additional leeway for NOTS points.

Send us an email with the specifics of your issue. 


The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

CVC 40508Release Upon Promise to Appear
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