When you receive a traffic ticket in California, you have a few options available to you. Some people will choose to pay the fine associated with the ticket. This may be the fastest option available to you, but it also may be a costly option.
In addition to the financial expense associated with paying the fine, this option also may place points on your driving record. As points accumulate, you may risk losing your driver’s license. The other options available to consider when you receive a traffic ticket are to fight the ticket in court or to attend traffic school. Some people believe that if you attempt to fight your ticket with a court case, you lose the option to attend traffic school. This, however, is not necessarily true.
Understanding your rights regarding traffic school can help you to make a more informed decision about how to proceed.
What May Happen With a Court Case
If you make the decision to pursue justice by fighting your traffic ticket in court, there are several ways the matter may be resolved, including:
- You may win your case, and all charges against you will be dismissed. You will not have to pay a traffic fine, and you will not have points added to your driver’s license.
- The judge may dismiss the case due to a technicality. This will also negate the need to pay a fine and will result in no points being added to your driver’s license.
- You may lose your case. If this happens, it will be at the judge’s discretion about whether to allow you to take a traffic school course or not.
The Benefits of Attending Traffic School
Whether you fight your ticket with a court case or you decide to opt out of a court case altogether, attending traffic school is generally a better option than simply paying your ticket outright.
- When you attend traffic school in California, completion of a course will result in one point being removed from your driving record. Keep in mind that these points remain on your record for three years.
- If you receive a certain number of points within a one, two or three-year period of time, you may lose your driver’s license.
- If you already have a point or two on your record, it may be in your best interest to take a course at a traffic school. In addition, points can also affect your insurance rates.
- By keeping even a single point off of your driving record, you can take a step to keep your insurance rates lower.
How to Protect Your Right to Attend Traffic School
Understanding how the courts work with traffic ticket cases can benefit you when you are determining how to proceed.
- The fact is that the police officer who wrote the ticket must show up in court for your case in order for the case to proceed.
- If the law enforcement officer fails to show up, the case will be thrown out with no further effort from you.
- You can ask the bailiff before the trial starts if the law enforcement officer has arrived. If the police officer does show up, you simply make a formal request to the judge before the trial begins to change your plea.
- When you change your plea to no contest, you can retain your right to attend traffic school. By taking this step, you will not need to worry about the judge denying a request to attend traffic school.
A traffic ticket can have costly effects on a driver in California, but you do have options available. By understanding your rights regarding traffic school, you can more easily make an informed decision about how to proceed.