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What Happens if I Miss My Traffic Court Date?

undefinedWhen you miss a traffic court date without an acceptable reason, you could face a misdemeanor charge on top of the original ticket. It is just not worth it to ignore a ticket.

A Missed Traffic Court Date Could Be a Misdemeanor

CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 40508Release Upon Promise to Appear states, “A person willfully violating his or her written promise to appear or a lawfully granted continuance of his or her promise to appear in court or before a person authorized to receive a deposit of bail is guilty of a misdemeanor regardless of the disposition of the charge upon which he or she was originally arrested.”

Therefore, when you realize that you missed your traffic court date, you should immediately consult a traffic attorney. A traffic attorney can contact the court and let the judge know that you did not “willfully” violate you “promise to appear,” which is what you did when you signed and accepted your ticket from the law enforcement officer (LEO). In fact, a traffic ticket is often called a “notice to appear,” and not resolving your traffic ticket or appearing in court is a “failure to appear” (FTA).   

Although there are only a few legitimate reasons for an FTA, such as military service, hospitalization, incarceration (jail), or deportation; when you hire a traffic attorney and have them contact the court, the judge often sees this as a legitimate attempt by you to resolve the FTA and the original ticket, rather than telling the court, “It slipped my mind.”

When you FTA, the judge could convict you in absentia, levy a fine, and then add an administrative fee of up to $300. When that is not paid within a reasonable timeframe, the court notifies a collection agency, and they could suspend your driver’s license.

Although it is not used as much as in the past, the judge could issue a bench warrant so that if an LEO stops you for any reason, you could be taken in for processing and payment. This warrant could also be issued for failure to pay a fine you were given an installment plan to pay. Many times, these are referred to as FTA/FTP. Contact a traffic attorney right away. Even when your immigration status is unclear, a traffic attorney can resolve your ticket without you appearing in court.

Out-of-State Drivers Who FTA

Many drivers who visit CA from another state or CA drivers who get a ticket in another state believe, “It’s just a traffic ticket, it won’t follow me, so there’s no need to go back for my traffic court date.” This scenario is far from true in this technological age. 

Actually, the Driver’s License Compact (DLC) has been around for years, it’s just that the technology is  now there to enforce it where it might not have been in previous years. CA has been a member of the DLC since 1963. The DLC is an agreement between states to send a notice of conviction, suspension, or FTA to the home state. 

However, rather than going back to Nevada or another state from CA, contact a local traffic ticket attorney to make arrangements before your traffic court date.  

Contact Bigger & Harman, APC, to Resolve an FTA or Missed Traffic Court Date 

When you have a traffic ticket scheduled for Hanford Traffic Court in Kings County, the best course of action is to call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We are traffic attorneys who can resolve traffic tickets for CA drivers before they FTA. However, if you realize too late that you missed a traffic court date, give us a call to discuss your options.

Email: attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com

References:

The 2020 CA Driver Handbook.pdf

CVC Section 40508Release Upon Promise to Appear 

The Driver’s License Compact (DLC)