Traffic Tickets - Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  I was pulled over and given a traffic ticket.  There is a date on the ticket.  Do I need to go to court on this date?

A:  No.  Assuming the ticket was for an infraction, this is the "compliance date."  You can respond online on the Los Angeles County Superior Court's website or in person at the traffic clerk's office.  For most tickets, you have three options: 1) pay the fine for the violation and request traffic school (if applicable); 2) schedule a court date (which would be the arraignment); or 3) request an extension of time to decide later which of the first two options that you would like to select.  You are automatically allowed one extension.

If you received a ticket for a misdemeanor, e.g. DUI, driving on a suspended license, etc., then the date is a mandatory court date.  You or an attorney must appear in court on the date listed on the citation.  

Q: What happens if I miss my compliance date and do not respond?

A:  If you signed the traffic infraction ticket, promising to respond by the date on the ticket, and then do not do so, you will be charged with a Failure to Appear.  The Court will also notify the DMV and your driver's license will be suspended.

Q:  What happens if I go to traffic school?

A:  If you complete traffic school the conviction will be dismissed.  You will not be assessed a point on your driving record.

Q:  Do I still have to pay the fine if I go to traffic school?

A:  Yes.  You will also need to pay a traffic school fee to the Court, usually around $64, plus the cost of whatever the traffic school itself charges.

Q:  How often can I go to traffic school?

A:  You may attend traffic school for a violation once every 18 months.  The date is determined by the date the ticket was issued, not the conviction date.  

Q:  What types of tickets can I go to traffic school for?

A:  Any one point moving violation qualifies (speeding, running a stop sign, car pool violations, not using a turn signal, illegal U-turns, etc). 

Q:  What types of tickets are not eligible for traffic school?

Two point violations, such as Vehicle Code Section 22348 (speeding over 100 mph), and misdemeanor offenses (DUI, reckless driving, etc.) do not qualify for traffic school.  Commercial drivers who are cited while driving their commercial vehicles may not attend traffic school.  Equipment violations, also known as "fix it tickets," and anything considered a "non-moving" violation do not carry a point and traffic school is not needed.

Q:  If I hire a traffic attorney do I need to go to Court?

A:  No, not if it is an infraction citation.  An attorney may appear on your behalf at all court hearings, including the trial.

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