Received a ticket in California?
In 2015, California's court system ended the requirement of paying a fine prior to challenging a ticket;however, since the fine is technically bail, judges will still be able to charge bail if they have reason to believe the person won't show up for trial.
Approximately 1 out of 50 people contest their tickets. Those who do contest are often so unprepared that they have a difficult time presenting a good defense. Remember, If the officer that citied you does not appear on the court date set forth in your ticket, then your case will be dismissed. If you really want to have a winning chance, you should be well-prepared. There are many options to help reduce the burden of paying to have your case dismissed. Speeding tickets in California average $300 to $500 dollars. The penalty for not paying the ticket could mean fines upwards of $500. It may be worth it to fight the ticket. For those who don’t fear the immediate financial consequences, you may have to pay higher insurance premiums for the next three to five years. Failure of payment may also lead to a suspended license.
Parking Ticket Questions
What Happens if You Ignore a Parking Ticket?
If you have not responded to a parking ticket within 21 days, you will receive a “Notice of Delinquent Parking Violation” demanding the parking ticket be paid.
Consequences of ignoring a parking ticket include:
- DMV refuses to let you renew your license until you pay an increased fine plus additional administrative fees as high as $40.
- DMV “hold” on your vehicle registration.
- If you have five or more parking tickets, or if your car has no valid license plates, your car can be immobilized or towed by the authorities until you pay the fine.
There is no criminal penalty for ignoring parking tickets, and no warrant will be issued for your arrest if you ignore one or more of them.
How to Contest Parking Tickets
The registered owner of the vehicle will either pay the fine or contest the citation, the procedures for paying or contesting should be indicated on the parking ticket.
If you want to contest the parking ticket, you must act within 21 days of the date the ticket was issued, or 14 days from the date of mailing the notice, whichever comes later.
- Contact the office indicated on your ticket and try to explain the situation either in person, through written request, or telephone.
- An officer will investigate the matter and may dismiss the ticket in light of your explanation.
- If the agency refuses to dismiss the ticket as the result of an investigation you are entitled to a hearing, sometimes called an “administrative review”.
- You must first pay your ticket in order to continue to contest it through a hearing.
- The agency must receive your fine and your request for an “administrative review hearing” within 21 days of the date it mailed you the notice that the ticket would not be dismissed.
- If you can’t afford to prepay the fine to get a hearing you should ask the agency to waive the request (must be able to show “verifiable and sustainable proof” of inability to pay).
- You have the option of choosing “by mail” or “by personal conference”
- During a personal conference you can bring witnesses with you who can testify the facts. If they can’t appear at the hearing, bring their written statement, which should be signed under penalty of perjury. Bring relevant photos with you.
- You will receive a notice of the hearing in the mail or in person. If the decision is in your favor your money will be mailed back to you.
- If you wish to take the matter further you have the right to request a new trial, for a $25 dollar fee. The parking fine and trial fee are refundable if you win.
- You have 30 days to make the request from the date you are notified that you have been found liable for the ticket.
- You have no right to cross examine the person who issued the ticket.
- No further appeal is allowed after this.
Good Defenses in Contesting a Parking Ticket
- The parking signs or curb/pavement markings were obscured missing or worn.
- The car was broken down
- The parking meter was broken or defective
Bad Defenses in Contesting a Parking Ticket
- I was trying to get change for the meter.
- I had to go to the bathroom.
- I left the motor running.
- I left someone in the car.
- I didn’t see the sign even though it was clearly visible.
- My car was only a little bit in the red zone.
- It hasn’t been enforced in the past.
The legal clinic has numerous resources that can assist you to find answers to various questions including the following:
- Speeding tickets and radar
- Other moving violations
- Pedestrian and bicycle violations
Equipment violations Misdemeanors:
- Drunk driving
- Reckless driving
- Speed contests