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What Information is on My Traffic Ticket?

Your traffic ticket (also called a citation) contains important information on both the front and back. The citation will include the following:

  • Citation Number (also called the case number)
  • Violation(s) and description of the violations
  • Offense level (misdemeanor or infraction)
  • If the violation is correctable
  • Issuing agency and name of officer
  • Address and phone number of the court
  • Date you must appear by or take care of the ticket

TIP: You need to set a court date to see the judge


What is a Courtesy Violation Information Notice?

A courtesy Violation Information Notice will be mailed by the court to the address on your ticket approximately two to three weeks after you receive your ticket.

Read the notice carefully, it contains important information:

  • The amount due (called bail) on your ticket
  • If the violation requires that you see the judge (called a mandatory appearance)
  • If traffic school is permitted
  • If the violation can be dismissed by showing proof of correction
  • Date you must appear by or take care of the ticket

IMPORTANT: You are still responsible for taking care of the ticket by the due date on the bottom of the ticket even if you do not receive a Violation Information Notice. If you do not receive a notice, contact the court listed at the bottom of your ticket for information about your ticket prior to the due date.


Can I Access Information About My Ticket Online?

Yes. It usually takes about two to three weeks for your ticket to be available online.


Where do I find my OC Pay number?

Click Here to search for your OC Pay # using the Criminal and Traffic case access application.


What is the Deadline to Take Care of My Ticket or See a Judge?

You must take care of your ticket (see "Options" below) or see the judge by the date on the bottom of your ticket. If you need to extend this date (called an "Extension"), you can do so online, by phone or in person at any of the five court locations.


Can I Transfer My Ticket to Another County?

No. Traffic cases must be heard in the county where you got the ticket.


What Options Do I Have to Take Care of My Ticket?

When you get a ticket you have several options, depending on the violation(s) (laws) you were cited for violating:

TRAFFIC SCHOOL:

You may be eligible for traffic school if you have not attended in the last 18 months and the violation(s) qualify. Your Violation Information Notice will include the amount to pay to the court to go to traffic school. A separate fee will be paid to the Traffic School provider. You can sign up and pay online, by phone or in person at any of the court locations.

Successful completion of traffic school:

  • Masks (conceals) the ticket from certain entities such as auto insurance companies, except as noted below.
  • Keeps "points" from showing up on your DMV record. If you get points on your record, your insurance company may ask you to pay more for insurance, or they may cancel your policy.

Effective January 1, 2013, Class A, B or Commercial Class C licensed drivers cited while driving a noncommercial vehicle, are eligible to attend traffic school based on existing eligibility requirements. The conviction will not be masked on the driver’s record, however, no point(s) will be assessed.

PAY THE TICKET (CALLED A BAIL FORFEITURE):

You can forfeit (pay) the bail. No court appearance is required and your case will be closed. Your courtesy Violation Information Notice will have the amount you owe and the methods of payment.

More information is available, including paying your ticket online, by phone, or in person at one of five court locations.

If you cannot afford to pay the amount of your ticket in one lump sum, you can make payments by completing the Agreement to Pay Bail In Installments (TR-300) . At this time, payment arrangements are not available online or through the mail. Bring the form to the Traffic Division at one of the five court locations. Once you have established a payment plan, you can opt for the ease and convenience of having your payments automatically charged to your credit card.

RESERVE A DATE TO SEE THE JUDGE:

You can see the Judge (called an arraignment hearing).The judge will explain your options, including setting a trial date if you wish to contest the traffic ticket (pleading not guilty). You must reserve a date to see the judge.

IF YOU THINK ARE NOT GUILTY:

You can contest your ticket and request a trial. You can choose to have:

More information is available on contesting your citation.


How is the Bail or Fine Calculated?

In most cases you can pay the amount listed on your courtesy Violation Information Notice instead of going court. This is called a "bail forfeiture." If you choose, instead, to go to court and are sentenced by a judge to pay an amount, this is called a "fine." Both bail and fines carry additional penalties and fees.

The California legislature decides what the minimum and maximum fine will be for every violation of state law. There are also local laws that say what the fines will be for violations of local law. Additionally, the legislature enacts laws adding additional penalties and fees that substantially increase the fine. For example, when penalties and fees are added to a $25 fine or bail amount, the total owed is approximately $175. More information  is available on how a fine is determined.

The State Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedule  contains a listing of:

  • Bail/Fines for many statutes
  • Additional penalties and fees (Section III of the preface)

The Superior Court of Orange County Uniform Bail Schedule  contains listing of bail (fines) for Local Offenses on page 13B.

CAUTION: Other statutory fees and assessments may also be owing. Use this schedule as a guideline only.


What If My Ticket Requires Proof of Insurance, Driver’s License, Registration, or to Fix a Mechanical Violation?

If your ticket has the "yes" box checked under the "correctable violation" section, you can have the violation dismissed if you fix or correct the violation and provide the court with the sign off citation or other proof and pay the transaction fee, you will pay the reduced amount for dismissal of your case. Be sure to return your signed off ticket or other proof to the court along with your fee.

PROOF OF VEHICLE INSURANCE:

If you had insurance at the time you received your ticket, you can show the clerk (either in person or by mail) proof that you had insurance. You must also pay the court a transaction fee (refer to your courtesy Violation Information Notice for the fee). If you did not have insurance or obtained insurance after you received the ticket, you must pay the full bail (fine) on your Notice or reserve a date to see the judge.

For more information, visit the General Information section and select the "How Do I Take Care of Insurance Violations?" and "How Do I Reserve a Court Date?"

PROOF OF A DRIVER’S LICENSE:

If you were cited for California Vehicle Code section 12951 and you had a valid driver’s license at the time you received your ticket, you can show the clerk your license, either in person or a copy by mail. You must also pay the court a transaction fee. Refer to your courtesy Violation Information Notice for the amount.

Other license violations such as California Vehicle Code sections 12500 and 14601 may require a mandatory court appearance. Follow the instructions on your Violation Information Notice or contact the court prior to the date indicated on your citation.

PROOF OF VEHICLE REGISTRATION:

You must show the clerk, either in person or a copy by mail, proof of current registration or that the vehicle has been reduced to scrap (junked). You must also pay the court a transaction fee. Refer to your courtesy Violation Information Notice for the amount.

If you cannot show proof then you are required to see the judge. You must reserve a date to see the judge.

VEHICLE EQUIPMENT VIOLATIONS:

Most equipment violations such as a headlight that is out, tinted windows, and bald tires may be dismissed by having a law enforcement officer sign the Certificate of Correction on the back of your ticket. Pollution Control Device violations must be certified by a smog check station licensed by the California Bureau of Automotive Repair.

Return the signed off ticket in person or by mail to the court along with the transaction fee listed on your courtesy Violation Information Notice.

PAYING THE BAIL IN LIEU OF PROOF OF CORRECTION:

For some violations, you can choose to forfeit (pay) bail rather than show the court proof of correction if it is not your vehicle or you cannot or do not want to correct the violation. Refer to your courtesy Violation Information Notice for the bail amount. You can also ask the judge to make the owner of the vehicle responsible. You must make a reservation to see the judge.


What Are My Options if I Received a Photo Red Light Ticket in the Mail?

If you have received a photo red light ticket, read all enclosed information carefully, including the reverse side of the ticket. You have the right to see the photographs and any video which was recorded. Some police agencies provide this information online. You may have received instructions on how to do this. If you did not, and wish to view the photographs and video, contact the police agency.

IF YOU ARE NOT THE DRIVER:

If you were not the driver, do NOT pay the citation if you intend on reporting that the vehicle was driven by someone else. Complete an Affidavit of Non-Liability and mail it back to the address listed on the affidavit prior to the due date at the bottom of the ticket. This form should be mailed to you along with the ticket.

IF YOU ARE THE DRIVER:

If you were the driver, you have the same options as listed above in What Options Do I Have to Take Care of My Ticket? which include paying the ticket, going to traffic school or pleading not guilty.


What Does It Mean When My Courtesy Violation Information Notice Says Mandatory Appearance?

Some violations, such as misdemeanors, or infractions which have mandatory sentences require that you appear before the judge. You must reserve a date to see the judge.


Are Parking Tickets Handled by the Court?

Illegal parking and registration violations issued while you are parked, typically left on the vehicle windshield or mailed to you, have NOT been handled by the court since 1993. They are processed by the CITY in which the violation occurred, typically by the city’s police agency. Follow the instructions on the parking ticket or notice you received in the mail.

If you lost the ticket, visit the Parking Citations section and then select "Parking Citations Left on Your Vehicle" for city phone numbers.


What Are my Options if I Received an Owner’s Responsibility Ticket in the Mail?

If your vehicle or commercial truck is not in compliance with state law, it is illegal for you to allow someone to drive that vehicle or truck. Violations are typically for vehicles which are unregistered, not properly equipped, and not in compliance with the size, weight, or load provisions of the Vehicle Code. This is referred to as an Owner’s Responsibility ticket. The police officer will mail the ticket to you, rather than citing the driver. You should also receive a courtesy Information Violation Notice from the court which will list your options. Some violations require a mandatory appearance, others require proof that the equipment has been fixed, and other violations allow the payment of bail (such as size, weight, and load violations). You can also contest the ticket if you think you are not guilty. Read the sections above for more information on your options.

© 2014 Superior Court of Orange County