This article discusses the downsides of entering into a payment plan with the Los Angeles Superior Court.
An Overview of the Los Angeles Traffic Ticket Payment Plan
The Los Angeles traffic ticket payment plan is authorized under Vehicle Code 40510.5.
Recently, the Los Angeles Superior Court implemented this option with the intent of making it easier for LA drivers to pay their traffic tickets.
The payment plan allows you to pay off your traffic ticket in bite-sized pieces (make payments), rather than pay the full amount all at once.
If you choose this option, it means you don’t have to appear in court and you don’t have to see the judge.
If you’d like to choose this option and enter into a payment plan with the court, you can do so here.
BUT BEFORE YOU PAY, beware of the 5 following downsides to entering into this payment plan with the court:
# 1 The Los Angeles traffic ticket payment plan is not available to everyone.
If you have a traffic ticket in Los Angeles and you wish to enter into a payment plan with the court, you may not be eligible.
You are NOT eligible for the payment plan if:
- You have a failure to appear or failure to pay (if your ticket is in failure to appear status, don’t pay GC Services because it’s better to fight it in court or hire me to go for you).
- Your ticket is not a violation of the Vehicle Code, such as an open container ticket.
- Your ticket involves a correctable violation, such as driving with expired tags.
- You have already made a payment or had a court hearing.
- Your citation involves a violation with a mandatory court appearance, such as VC 23111 (cigarette litter ticket).
However, even if none of the above apply and you are eligible to enter into the payment plan, please read further before doing so, in order to prevent negative consequences you may rather avoid.
#2 You cannot get traffic school when you enter into the Los Angeles traffic ticket payment plan.
If you were cited for speeding, running a red light, crossing a double yellow line, or other such violation this is called a “moving violation.”
Moving violations result in a point on your DMV record.
So if you enter into the payment plan when you were cited with a moving violation you will not be eligible for traffic school and a point will appear on your DMV record, making your insurance rates go up.
#3 When you enter into the Los Angeles traffic ticket payment plan, a conviction will be entered on your DMV record.
When you enter into the payment plan, even though you are not appearing in court and going before a judge, a conviction will still go on your record.
This can have an adverse effect on your employment, cause your insurance rates to go up (for moving violations, as discussed above), and will mar your DMV record.
#4 Once you sign the agreement, you can’t get any more payment extensions in the event of financial hardship and your inability to pay.
If you handle your traffic ticket before the judge and are found guilty (or plead guilty or no contest), and fines are owed, you are allowed extensions to give yourself more time to pay off the balance due.
However, when you enter into the payment plan with the court, if you later have trouble honoring that agreement you will not be given any more extensions.
Instead, a $300 civil assessment will be added to your fine amount and your case will be referred to the collections agency GC Services.
#5 The Los Angeles traffic ticket payment plan will deprive you of your day in court.
Many people believe “they are guilty” of whatever violation they received from the officer, and just want to pay the ticket and be done with it.
However, by doing this, you are preventing a better outcome on your case. By fighting your ticket in court, you have an opportunity to confront your officer who must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the offense you are charged with.
Sometimes the officer doesn’t show up at your court trial, due to scheduling conflicts or other reasons. In the event your officer doesn’t show up, your case is dismissed entirely!
When you enter into the payment plan, you are completely bypassing this opportunity to get your case completely dismissed (or to keep the point off of your DMV record, as discussed above).
Consult a Traffic Ticket Attorney for Help
My name is Attorney Paul Denni and I’ve handled thousands of tickets in Los Angeles traffic court on behalf of my clients.
For a free consultation, you can speak with me personally by calling 888-250-8450 or simply click here: