Before you rush to pay GC Services license, stop and read this article! It could save you hundreds of dollars or more. Also, it can protect your DMV record and you criminal record.
When Tickets Get Referred to GC ServicesTickets will be sent to collections with GC Services if you fall under one of the following two scenarios.
Scenario #1: Failure to AppearYour traffic ticket will be sent to GC Services if you never appeared in court to handle your traffic ticket and you never made a payment arrangement with the court. This is also known as a failure to appear, or FTA charge. If you failed to appear in court, this will also cause a 40509.5 hold to be placed on your driver’s license which will turn into a driver’s license suspension if you do not act quickly. As discussed more fully below, you do not want to pay GC Services under this scenario.
Scenario #2: Failure to PayYour traffic ticket will also be sent to GC Services if you have already been to court and saw the judge, but didn’t pay your fines by the time the court ordered you to do so. This scenario is called a “failure to pay” or “FTP”. If you look up your case on the Los Angeles Traffic Ticket Website, the status of your traffic ticket will say “matters set for compliance” if you have a failure to pay. If you are not sure with you have a failure to appear or failure to pay, please contact me using the “free consultation” button at the bottom of this post for assistance. If you have a failure to pay, you are not entitled to another court date and in this case you will have to pay GC Services, which you can do on their website here.
Don’t Pay GC Services When You Have a Failure to Appear (Scenario #1)If you fall under Scenario #1 and have a failure to appear, you should not pay GC Services under these circumstances. In this situation, you still have the opportunity to see the judge to resolve your ticket, and it is far better to handle your traffic ticket in court than to pay the collections agency. GC Services is not your attorney or your advocate in any way. They have one job to do: to collect your money. This is precisely why they aren’t going to tell you about the negative consequences associated with paying them on your traffic tickets. When you pay GC Services, you are pleading guilty to your traffic ticket and also to the failure to appear charge. This can harm you in the following ways, discussed below.
If You Pay GC Services, You May Receive Harmful Points on Your DMV RecordA moving violation refers to any traffic ticket for which a conviction would result in one or more “points” on your DMV record. When your traffic ticket is a moving violation (such as speeding, running a stop sign or red light, etc.), a point will go on your DMV record which can increase your insurance rates drastically, and in some cases doubling it. Due to the DMV point system that monitors how many points you get in a given period of time, paying GC Services can actually backfire on you and cause your license to remain suspended. Let’s say you already have two points on your DMV record, and you also have a traffic ticket for driving with a suspended license under VC 14601.1. in collections with GC Services. In an attempt to clear the hold from this ticket, you do as GC Services told you to do and you pay them on this ticket. Remember that when you pay GC Services on a ticket, you are pleading guilty to it, so the conviction will appear on your DMV report. Since VC 14601.1 is a moving violation that carries two points, this would put you at a total point count of four points with the DMV, and the DMV will suspend your license with a negligent operator suspension because you received too many points within a given period of time. A negligent operator suspension can last as long as 6 months, and now you are worse off than you were before.
If You Pay GC Services, You May Receive a Misdemeanor on Your Criminal RecordPaying GC Services also means you’ll be convicted of a failure to appear in court, under VC 40508. The reason this is significant is because in some cases this failure to appear conviction can appear on a criminal background check! The reason this can happen is because Vehicle Code 40508 can be filed as a misdemeanor or an infraction (this is called a “wobbler” offense, meaning the conviction can wobble up to a misdemeanor or down to an infraction). In court, some judges go so far as to advise traffic ticket defendants with failure to appear charges of their right for the case to be treated as a misdemeanor (as you may guess, not many people raise their hand and volunteer for that opportunity). The benefit to fighting your traffic ticket in court is that the failure to appear charge will be reduced to an infraction, which will keep your criminal record clear. The reason the failure to appear is knocked down to an infraction in traffic court is because traffic courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, meaning they do not have jurisdiction over misdemeanor or felony matters. Consequently, the VC 40508 charge is automatically bumped down to an infraction when you exercise your right to go before a judge in traffic court. (Note: if you’ve already paid GC Services and the failure to appear is now appearing on your criminal background, as expungement lawyers we can get this misdemeanor dismissed from your criminal record – just contact me below).
If You Pay GC Services, Your Fines Will be EnormousGC Services may try to tempt you with a “payment plan”, but don’t fall for it – over the course of time these fines will be astronomical and there’s not even a short term benefit to it. GC Services wants usually 4-5 times the amount of the original traffic ticket balance. When I handle traffic tickets in court for my clients, the tickets are either dismissed entirely or the fines are greatly reduced from the amount GC Services is requesting.
What Happens if You Do Nothing?When you have a failure to appear in court, the traffic court will notify the DMV who in turn will place a “hold” on your driver’s license. If the hold on your driver’s license is not cleared, the hold will turn into a driver’s license suspension. If you ever get pulled over by law enforcement when your license is suspended, you are at risk of being cited for driving with a suspended license, and the officer can also impound your car. To avoid this negative snowball effect, you must do something with your failure to appear traffic ticket. You can pay GC Services, but as discussed above the best option is to handle it in traffic court.
How GC Services Will Try to Deceive YouWhen you have a traffic ticket with GC Services, they will do all they can to convince you to pay them. They will make it seem like paying them is the only option for clearing the hold from your driver’s license. What they aren’t telling you is that when your ticket is in failure to appear status, you can still get a court date, and the driver’s license hold will still be removed on your first traffic court date hearing.
When You Are Stuck and Must Pay GC ServicesAs discussed above, if you’ve been sentenced by the Court already this is called a failure to pay/ FTP. In this case only, you must pay GC Services in full to get your license back. You cannot get another court date, which means I cannot provide legal assistance that would add any benefit to your situation. Important Note: even when you have a failure to pay “FTP” and cannot get another court date, be aware that the 5 Year DMV Purge rule says that tickets older than 5 years old (whether FTA or FTP) will no longer hold your license. This means that if your tickets are older than 5 years old, you can go get your suspended license reinstated today without paying GC Services one penny! (Make sure to point out to the DMV employee the age of your ticket because sometimes even the DMV overlooks this rule.)
What About the “Amnesty” Program?There is a lot of confusion about the GC Services traffic ticket amnesty program, which actually is no longer available anyway. In the past, if you talked to GC Services they may have asked you whether you wanted to “sign up for their amnesty program.” Under the traffic ticket amnesty program (the government program), if you received a traffic ticket on or before January 1st, 2013, then you qualified for a reduction of between 50-80% of the collections amount. What’s important is if you did sign up for the amnesty program and made even one payment toward the program, you will no longer be able to handle your case in court and are unfortunately stuck paying GC Services the remainder of the balance.
How I Can Help as a Traffic Ticket AttorneyWhen your license is suspended because you have failed to appear on a traffic ticket, you do not have to pay collections to clear the hold from your driver’s license. In this case you can still see a judge, and it is much better to handle your ticket in court if this option is available to you in order to preserve your DMV record, criminal record, and reducing your fines, as discussed above. As a Los Angeles traffic ticket attorney, I’ve been dealing with GC Services for my clients for almost a decade and have helped thousands of clients get better results in court. I can do the same for you, including:
- put your case back in court and handle everything for you without the need for you to be present in court with me
- clear the hold from your traffic ticket and help you get your driver’s license reinstated
- resolve your ticket with better results in court (lower fines, no points on your DMV record, and no misdemeanor on your criminal record for the FTA charge).
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