Protect Your Driving Privileges Fight Your Ticket With Bigger & Harman Today

undefinedGetting a traffic ticket in CA can be a frustrating experience. Often, your best option is to challenge the ticket in traffic court with a CA traffic attorney.

Not a conviction result in a hefty fine, but it will also lead to points on your motor vehicle driving record (MVR) and increased insurance premiums. If you have received a traffic ticket in CA, it's important to understand how the traffic court system works and your options for resolving the ticket. 

In this blog post, we will explore what you need to know about CA traffic courts, including the notice to appear, traffic ticket options, the consequences of ignoring a ticket, and the benefits of hiring a traffic attorney.

Traffic Court: The Notice to Appear

When you receive a traffic ticket in CA, you will typically receive a notice to appear in court after the county clerk processes the ticket. 

This notice will include the date and time of your court appearance and information about the fine amount or bail, as it is often referred to in CA. In some cases, you can pay the fine before your court date and avoid having to appear in court. However, it's important to note that paying the fine is an admission of guilt and will result in points on your driving record unless you are eligible for Traffic Violator’s School (TVS).

Your eligibility will be noted on your notice to appear. However, it is not always accurate and could cause you to waste your time and cost you a lot more money. Always consult a traffic attorney before pleading guilty and accepting TVS.

Traffic Ticket Options

If you decide to contest your traffic ticket, you have several options. 

One option is to attend traffic violator school. This program allows you to attend a DMV-approved TVS, which will keep your minor infraction confidential. Traffic convictions are public information. In many cases, you won’t want that information to get out. For instance, if you have a driving position at work (commercial drivers are not permitted to attend TVS if they were driving their commercial vehicle when cited) or have applied to a prestigious college or university. 

However, not all traffic violations are eligible for traffic violator school, and you can only attend once every 18 months. Many stipulations could cause you to waste time and money attending TVS without discussing it with a traffic attorney first. 

Another option is to hire a traffic attorney. A traffic attorney can review your case and help you develop a strategy for contesting the ticket. 

Many drivers worry that a traffic attorney will advise them to challenge the ticket in traffic court even though the odds are against them winning. Most traffic attorneys, at least those with a good reputation, are too busy to take a case they believe they can’t win. 

Typically, winning has nothing to do with guilt or innocence.   

They can also represent you and negotiate with the traffic court judge to reduce or dismiss the charges. Normally, prosecutors or the District Attorney (DA) are not involved in traffic cases unless it is a misdemeanor or felony charge, such as reckless driving or hit & run accidents.

Ignoring the Ticket Will Cost More

If you ignore your traffic ticket in CA, it can result in serious consequences. 

Deliberate failure to appear (FTA) in court is a misdemeanor in CA. It can lead to additional civil assessments, credit bureau notification for failure to pay (FTA/FTP), a bench warrant, and driving privilege suspension. It's important to take your traffic ticket seriously and consult a traffic attorney before you decide to pay the fine or dispute it in traffic court.

The Benefits of a Traffic Attorney

Hiring a traffic attorney can have several benefits if you have received a traffic ticket in CA. 

A traffic attorney can help you understand your options for contesting the ticket and develop a strategy for the best possible outcome. They can also represent you in court and negotiate with the judge to reduce or dismiss the charges. A traffic attorney can also help you avoid points on your driving record and increased insurance premiums.

Typically, the fine for a traffic ticket is only one-fourth of the total penalty if convicted. The increased auto insurance premium usually represents three-fourths of the penalty. The average CA driver will pay $2,291 for insurance in 2023. If convicted of even a minor infraction without TVS, you could see a $692 increase. First, you’ll lose your “good driver’s discount” of 20%, and they’ll add the risk associated with the conviction for a minor infraction, usually 10 or 12%.      

Ask Bigger & Harman for Assistance Disputing Your Ticket in Hanford Traffic Court

Contact us today for advice about challenging your traffic ticket in Kings County Traffic Court at (661) 349-9300. Use our handy online contact form to schedule a consultation, or email

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The CA Driver Handbook English y Español.

The Bankrate articleAverage cost of car insurance in CA for 2022.

CVC Section 40508Release upon Promise to Appear.

The CA Courts Self-Help Guide.

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