As a Los Angeles traffic ticket attorney I’ve represented clients on hundreds and hundreds of Pasadena traffic tickets over the years. These are a few pointers to keep in mind.
#1 Don’t Fail to Appear on Your Pasadena Traffic Ticket
(But if you did fail to appear, see guideline #3.)
Failure to appear on a traffic ticket in Los Angeles County means your case will be sent to a collections agency by the name of GC Services.
At the bottom of your citation where you signed it is the address of the Pasadena courthouse (300 East Walnut Street, Pasadena 91101), as well as the future date you are supposed to either pay the ticket by, or contest it.
If you fail to pay the ticket or set an arraignment date to contest it, this is considered a failure to appear.
If you fail to appear on your traffic ticket, your case will be referred to GC Services and:
- A 40509.5 hold will be placed on your driver’s license
- Your driver’s license hold will eventually turn into a driver’s license suspension
- Your original traffic ticket fine amount will skyrocket to 4-5 times the original amount
- You will receive threatening letters and/ or phone calls from GC Services
Whether you want to pay or fight your traffic ticket, as long as you are acting on or before the date written at the bottom of the citation, you can choose your options on the Los Angeles County traffic ticket website here.
#2 If You Didn’t Fail to Appear on Your Pasadena Traffic Ticket, Should You Pay it or Fight it?
The answer to this question is somewhat personal because time, financial resources, and the facts giving rise to the ticket itself will vary for every person.
But here are a few tips you should keep in mind when discerning whether to pay or to fight your Pasadena traffic ticket.
When to Fight It
You should fight the ticket if it is a moving violation and you cannot use traffic school to keep the point off of your record.
A moving violation means a conviction would result in a point received on your DMV record, which can cause your insurance rates to go up. If you’re not traffic school eligible, then you can’t take traffic school to remove the point.
You are traffic school eligible if you have not attended traffic school in the past 18 months, and as long as the offense you are charged with does not carry two points. Examples of violations that carry two points are driving with a suspended license and speeding over 100 mph.
Sometimes you don’t have the option to fight a ticket in court, because there is a mandatory appearance required. You’ll know if there is a mandatory appearance because when you go to pay it online you will be unable to. An example of a ticket with a mandatory appearance is VC 23111 (cigarette litter).
Naturally, you should also fight the ticket if you don’t believe you were guilty. Police officers are fallible human beings and subject to error!
Finally, you should fight the ticket when you have a failure to appear (see below for a discussion on dealing with a failure to appear).
If you need help fighting your traffic ticket, you can contact me using the form below.
When to Pay It
You should simply pay the ticket if you don’t believe you have any real defenses, you aren’t required to appear, you don’t have the time to go to court, and/ or if the ticket is a moving violation but you are traffic school eligible (just make sure you request traffic school!).
#3 If You Failed to Appear on Your Pasadena Traffic Ticket, Don’t Pay GC Services
As mentioned above, if you failed to appear on your traffic ticket it will be referred to the collections agency GC Services.
You don’t want to pay GC Services if you don’t have to. Being the deceptive collections agency that they are, they will tell you that you have no option other than to pay them – but this is simply not true!
Sometimes you have to pay GC Services, and these are the circumstances when you must pay GC Services:
- You have to pay GC Services when you have a failure to pay (FTP). On the Los Angeles traffic court website, an FTP will show as “matters set for compliance.” On the other hand, if you have a failure to appear (FTA), the status of the ticket will say “40509.5 hold.” Remember that GC Services will always tell you that you have to pay, even if you have a 40509.5 hold!
- You have to pay GC Services if you already started paying them under the amnesty program. But if you started paying them under the driver’s license release program, then you can still get a court date and do not have to pay them.
- Whether you have an FTA or an FTP, you don’t have to pay GC Services in either circumstance if your ticket is older than 5 years old, pursuant to the 5 Year DMV Purge Rule (DMV will purge all license holds resulting from tickets older than 5 years old).
So unless you fall into one of the three categories above, you don’t have to pay GC Services.
Further, you shouldn’t pay GC Services if you don’t have to, and here’s why:
- You will get a point on your DMV record, assuming the ticket is a moving violation.
- You will pay huge fines over and above what is necessary.
- Your FTA charge can appear on a criminal background check.
- You can still get your license back by handling your ticket in court.
By handling your ticket in court, you have an opportunity to get the case dismissed completely. Further, you’ll owe much less in fines in the case where fines are owed.
Get Help with Your Pasadena Traffic Ticket
If you’d like help fighting your Pasadena traffic ticket in court, call me (Attorney Paul Denni) for a free consultation at 888-250-8450. If you’d like me to contact you, please fill out the form below.