Regardless of the violation, traffic tickets in California can be costly. But is getting a traffic ticket payment plan the best possible result?
How Can I Get a Traffic Ticket Payment Plan?
That should be a last resort. The first thing you should do is consult a traffic attorney. Too many drivers believe they will pay more for a lawyer than the fine. Whereas you might pay more for a lawyer than the fine, in some cases, the fine is only a “blip on the radar” compared to what your insurance company is going to soak you for if convicted.
Then, there’s the guys and gals who ask, “What if I hire a lawyer, and I am found guilty? Won’t I be paying twice, when I could have paid the fine and been done with it?”
Yes, if all there was to be concerned with was a fine, that would be correct. However, it is never that “cut and dry.” What’s more, even if a traffic lawyer is unable to get your ticket dismissed, they are often able to get a reduced no-point conviction to avoid an insurance hit.
What does a no-point conviction mean to a driver? It means the DMV will not assess negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points. And that means your insurance company will not take your “good driver discount”, nor raise your premium. A minor infraction could cost an average driver $1,500 to $2,000 more in premiums. Plus, the more serious the ticket, the higher your risk will be, and the more your premium will go up.
Isn’t It Cheaper to Pay the Fine All at Once?
Maybe, but some tickets can be thousands of dollars. Take a speeding 100+ mph conviction, for example, that could be as much as $2,500 (most courts are just in the $899 to $975 range, but there are several courts who hand out the maximum fine). Not exactly pocket change for most, is it?
Your best option is always to consult a traffic attorney. Choose a traffic attorney with an excellent reputation and a free initial consultation. Even when they are unable to get a dismissal, they can ask the judge to consider your income to decrease the fine and request a traffic ticket payment plan for you.
Can’t I Just Go to Traffic Violator’s School (TVS) to Get It Forgiven?
That is a myth. Sorry, but TVS does not forgive your ticket. In fact, before you can go to school, you must plead guilty, pay the fine (typically $238 for a minor infraction), plus the privilege of attending (usually $64), and the tuition. Check the DMV website for an approved course. And, be sure to finish before the court-ordered completion date or you will have wasted your time.
Not everyone with a traffic ticket is eligible for TVS, although it will typically state on your court reminder. If you are eligible, you are automatically disqualified if you have used traffic school to mask a ticket within the last 18 months. Some other disqualifiers include: no CA driver’s license; you were driving a CMV when you got the ticket; it was a misdemeanor or felony, this includes DUI; or it was a minor moving violation.
DO NOT use traffic school for a non-moving violation or “fix-it” ticket. A fix-it or correctable ticket is something like a broken taillight or no license in possession.
Although it will cost you more to go to TVS, your conviction will be masked as confidential from the public. That includes your insurance company, schools, and your employer (but not all employers, it might still appear on a background check). However, TVS is not always the right choice. Once again, your best bet is to consult a traffic attorney.
Traffic Ticket Attorneys in Tulare County
The easiest, most efficient method to get a traffic ticket payment plan is to hire an experienced traffic attorney to represent you. In many cases, your ticket will be dismissed or downgraded to a no-point conviction. Therefore, you won’t need a payment plan. Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
We are traffic law specialists; we do not do it as a side hustle. We have been handling traffic ticket cases in California traffic courts like those in Visalia and Porterville, where we have had great success for more than ten years.
The 2020 CA Driver Handbook.pdfThe DMV.CA.GOV TVS Portal