How Do You Pay for a Traffic Violation?


Quick Answer

Most jurisdictions allow traffic violations to be paid by mail, phone, in person or online, explains DMV.org. Specific payment methods vary by jurisdiction. Payment instructions are included on the ticket. Some offenses require a court appearance, in which case payment must be made at the courthouse.

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Full Answer

Failure to pay a traffic ticket can have serious consequences, including increased penalties, suspension of driving privileges, a hold placed on future vehicle registration or license renewal and a warrant for arrest if a court appearance is required, notes DMV.org. The driver may also forfeit his driver's license, cash or bond, such as a bond card. The penalties vary by jurisdiction and judge's discretion.

Many drivers choose to fight a traffic ticket in court rather than pay the fine, according to DMV.org. After a not guilty plea is entered, a hearing before a traffic court judge is scheduled. Defendants can hire counsel, though many choose to represent themselves. In many jurisdictions, the defendant must pay court costs if found guilty. Another disadvantage of losing a traffic court hearing is that a lighter penalty cannot be obtained through a plea bargain.

Paying a traffic ticket is equivalent to a guilty or no contest plea, states DMV.org. This can lead to a conviction being entered on the defendant's driving record, which can lead to higher insurance rates. In some cases and jurisdictions, drivers are able to pay the fine and receive court supervision or attend traffic school to avoid having a conviction entered on their record.

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