What Happens if you Ignore a Ticket?

What Happens if you Ignore a Ticket?

March 04 2021


If you ignore your ticket, you are only asking for your situation to get worse. Your fine will likely increase and additional penalties can be added.

If you can show the court that you are unable to pay your fine or that it will cause your family financial hardship, you may ask them to reduce or drop the fine. If your case ends up in collections, you can contact your court to have them determine your ability to pay in case of financial hardship. After considering your financial circumstances, the court may decide to reduce the amount of the fine, put you on a payment plan, or order community service.

However, it is possible your court may not offer all of these options, not all fines may be eligible for ability-to-pay determinations, and the court may decide you owe the total amount either in full or on a payment plan. If you do not appear in court or pay your ticket your driver’s license is subject to suspension with the possibility of additional penalties being added.

What if you don’t go to court on your court date?

If you do not appear in court or pay your ticket your driver’s license is subject to suspension with the possibility of additional penalties being added.

Not showing up to court is referred to as “failure to appear”. If you violate the agreement to appear at court (that you signed when you got your ticket) you can be found guilty of a new crime.

You may not need to appear if you contacted the court prior to your court date to address your ticket and take action ahead of time. You can resolve your ticket before your court date by pleading guilty and paying the fine, requesting an arraignment date, posting bail and requesting trial without arraignment, or requesting rial by declaration. Make sure with the court that you do not need to appear.

In addition to a “failure to appear”, a “civil assessment” fee of up to $300 may be added to your fine amount, your case may be sent to collections, you may be found guilty in absentia, or the court may issue a warrant for your arrest.

The court can additionally charge you with a misdemeanor or an infraction for “failure to appear.” If you get a “civil assessment” but had “good cause” for not appearing in court or paying your fine, you may be able to ask the court to cancel it, if you ask in a timely manner.

What if you don’t pay your fine/fee?

If you do not pay your fine within the time the court gives you, your driver’s license will be subject to suspension. It is also possible you might not be able to renew your vehicle registration.

In addition to not paying your fine on time, a “civil assessment” fee of up to $300 could be added to your fine amount, your case may be sent to collections, or the court could issue a warrant for your arrest. The court can additionally charge you with a misdemeanor or infraction for “failure to pay.”

If you go to court and respond to your ticket you will be able to avoid additional penalties. It will give you an opportunity to present any financial hardship or ability to pay issues in order to make appropriate adjustments to your fines/payments if the court is able to. Don’t forget that you can request an ability-to-pay determination even if your case has been sent to collections.

If you are seeking legal representation to help you respond to a ticket, present financial hardship evidence, or have to present “good cause” due to a “civil assessment” for failure to appear, contact Mr. Ticket!

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