NOTE: If your ticket is for an infraction violation of the Vehicle Code, go to the Self-Help Section and Traffic Section of this website. If you have committed a misdemeanor or felony offense, go to the Criminal Section
What Information is on My INFRACTION (NON-TRAFFIC) Ticket?
Your non-traffic infraction 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 may 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 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.
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 court locations.
NOTE: Even though your offense is not Traffic related, it is handled by the Traffic Division.
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:
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.
Note: Even though your offense is not Traffic related, it is handled by the Traffic Division.
RESERVE A DATE TO SEE THE JUDGE:
Seeing the judge can be either optional or mandatory depending on the violation.
- Optional: Your courtesy Violation Information Notice will say that you can forfeit (pay) the bail or show proof of correction. If you would rather see the judge, this is called an arraignment hearing. The judge will explain the charges, your rights and options, including setting a trial date if you wish to contest the non-traffic infraction ticket (pleading not guilty).
- Mandatory: Some violations require that you appear before a judge. Your courtesy Violation Information Notice will say "mandatory appearance."
To appear in front of a judge, you must reserve a date:
- 24 hours/day, 7 days/week at this link
- In person, 8:00am - 4:00pm, Monday – Friday at one of the court locations
You must have the following information:
- Citation number or OC Pay number listed on your courtesy Violation Information Notice AND one of the following
- Driver’s License Number OR Date of Birth
IF YOU THINK ARE NOT GUILTY:
You can contest your ticket and request a trial. 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 14, section B.
CAUTION: Other statutory fees and assessments may also be owing. Use this schedule as a guideline only.
How To Clean Up Your Record?
If you were convicted of a non Vehicle Code infraction and you have completed the terms of your sentence, you may petition for a dismissal at the expiration of one year from your conviction date. Vehicle Code infractions ("traffic tickets") are not eligible. You can read more about how to file a PC 1203.4 Petition.