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

undefinedCould this be your story? Although this story is fictional, the traffic law facts and penalties for an FTA/FTP are accurate.

A new client came in with a question about a ten-year-old failure to appear (FTA). 

Although the circumstances and penalties differ, the courts often use the same catchphrase for failure to appear and failure to pay (FTA/FTP). So, rather than break these into separate incidents, we’ll explain the differences when they come up but use the acronym FTA/FTP throughout.   

The client in question had a speeding ticket on the way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. They said they had a job offer in Vegas and were headed there for an interview. Thinking they would be late, they were speeding.

Since they got the job in Vegas, they thought they wouldn’t return to CA except to move. They claim they intended to pay the fine but forgot about the ticket with the move and the stress of the new job.

CA Vehicle Code Section 40508, Release Upon Promise to Appear

Section 40508, Release Upon Promise to Appear states that, “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.”

The court will assume the driver received the court notice to appear as it was forwarded to the last known address of record the DMV had on file. Since the driver moved out of state, it is not safe to assume the driver received the notice. However, they did sign a promise to appear with  a date at the bottom of the ticket and the court’s address. Did they willfully violate their order to appear? There is usually a “reasonable doubt” that it was not willful if argued correctly. 

However, if you don’t have a traffic attorney to raise this doubt to the court, the judge might assume you were aware and ignored the order to appear.

Now they have moved back to CA. However, when they went to renew their license, they were told their CA driver’s license (DL) was suspended, and the FTA/FTP was pending in Barstow, CA, Traffic Court. But, since Barstow was now temporarily closed, they would have to go to the Victorville, CA, court clerk’s office to pay the fine, the administrative penalty, and the reinstatement fee. The court clerk in LA told her it could be more than $1,000 to clear the FTA/FTP. 

The Easiest Method to Get the FTA/FTP Penalties Reduced

Consult a traffic defense attorney immediately before you get back behind the wheel. Driving under suspension could add a misdemeanor charge of driving while your driving privileges are suspended. CVC Section 14601Violations of Driving Provisions, warns drivers that “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person’s driving privilege is suspended or revoked…if the person so driving has knowledge of the suspension or revocation.” Read more here.       

However, a traffic attorney can contact the court to get your FTA/FTP cleared and set a date to dispute your original traffic violation.

Many of these old charges are easier to get cleared, as the arresting officer might not be available, especially when you were not tried in absentia. Most traffic court judges will “vacate the assessment” of the civil penalty assessed under Civil Code Section 1214.1 when there is “good cause for the failure to appear or for the failure to pay.”

The judge would probably see the driver moving out of state as “good cause” for not appearing, though some might not. There is no guarantee that the judge will see it as reasonable to ignore a traffic violation for ten years. Although, having a traffic attorney point out to them that the arresting officer is unavailable might help persuade them.

Many drivers worry that a lawyer will cost more than the fine. However, in the case of an FTA/FTP, there is much more at stake than a fine. If you cannot reverse the FTA/FTP charge, you could technically be found guilty of a misdemeanor crime. You should never try to defend a case like that on your own. Consult a traffic attorney with trial experience right away.

Ask Bigger & Harman for Assistance Clearing  Your FTA/FTP in Victorville, CA Traffic Court

While this scenario is fictitious, the locations and legal solutions are real. You need a traffic attorney to potentially get many charges and penalties reduced or dismissed.

Many court cases that Barstow handled are now being heard in Victorville Traffic Court on 14455 Civic Drive in San Bernardino County, CA. 

Contact us today for help clearing an FTA/FTP 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.

CVC Section 40508Release upon Promise to Appear.

The CA Courts Self-Help Guide.

Share To: