Who is GC Services, and When Should I Not Pay Them?
GC Services collections agency (“GCS”) is in contract with the Los Angles County Superior Court to collect on all unpaid traffic tickets under the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County.
Tickets will be sent to collections with GCS if you fall under one of these three scenarios:
- Scenario #1: Your 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:
(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.)
- Scenario #2: Your traffic ticket will also be sent to GC Services in the case where you went to court and saw a judge but didn’t pay your fines by the time the court ordered you to pay your fines. This scenario is called a:
- Failure to pay “FTP”, or
- If you look up your ticket on the Los Angeles County court website, the status of your ticket will read “matters set for compliance.”
- Scenario #3: You entered into the Los Angeles traffic ticket payment plan with the court, but failed to make payments as agreed under the payment plan.
Don’t Pay GC Services Under Scenario #1
You should not pay GC Services under Scenario #1 (discussed above), when your ticket is in FTA status.
Only under Scenario #1 do you still have the opportunity to see the judge to resolve your ticket. Moreover, in this situation it is MUCH BETTER to handle your ticket in court than to pay the collections agency.
A large portion of my law practice is devoted to defending and protecting those who have a traffic ticket in collections with GCS under Scenario #1 (but if you fall under Scenario #2 or Scenario #3, read below because you still may not have to pay GC Services in some circumstances).
How GC Services Will Try to Deceive You
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 this driver’s license hold is not cleared, the hold will result in the suspension of your driver’s license and if you get pulled over you could be cited for driving with a suspended license.
When you have a traffic ticket with GCS, they will do all they can to convince you to pay them.
GC Services will make it seem that 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 STILL GET THE HOLD CLEARED!
Separating Fact from Fiction When GC Services Tells You to Pay
When You Have to Pay GC Services
As discussed above, if you’ve been sentenced by the Court already this is called an FTP.
IN THIS CASE ONLY*, you must pay GCS in full to get your license back. You cannot get another court date, which means we 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.)
When You Do NOT Have to Pay GCS
When 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 on 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 as well as your criminal record.
As a Los Angeles traffic ticket attorney, I’ve been dealing with GC Services for my clients for several years 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.
- Save your driver’s license.
- 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).
Understanding the GC Services “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 GCS they may have asked you whether you wanted to “sign up for their amnesty program.”
Here’s what’s confusing: the State of California had an ACTUAL traffic ticket amnesty, but it had nothing to do with what GCS was talking about.
Under the true 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.
GCS stole the word “amnesty” and may have confused you into thinking you were signing up for the government’s amnesty program.
In any case, the government amnesty program is no longer available. Also, 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.
Secrets GC Services Would Prefer You Didn’t Know
GCS is not your attorney or your advocate in any way. They just want your money. This is precisely why they aren’t going to tell you about the negative consequences associated with paying them.
When you pay GC Services, you’re pleading guilty to the underlying traffic ticket as well as the failure to appear charge. This can result in marring your DMV record, as well as your criminal record (discussed below).
You May Receive Harmful DMV Points
A moving violation refers to any traffic ticket for which a conviction would result in 1 or more “points” on your DMV record.
When the traffic ticket was 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, in some cases doubling it.
Paying GCS so you can get back your license may have the opposite effect and cause your license to remain suspended because you received too many points on your DMV record within a given period of time. This is called a negligent operator suspension by the DMV, which can be a suspension lasting as long as 6 months.
Misdemeanor on Your Criminal Record
Paying GCS also means you’ll be convicted of a failure to appear in court, under Vehicle Code 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).
Some judges go so far as to advise traffic ticket defendants with FTA charges of their right for the case to be treated as a misdemeanor, if desired (as you might guess, not many people raise their hand and volunteer for that opportunity).
When we handle your traffic ticket in court, we can automatically get the failure to appear charge reduced to an infraction in order to keep your criminal record clear. This is because traffic courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, meaning they cannot hear misdemeanor or felony matters.
Consequently, the VC 40508 is automatically bumped down to an infraction when you exercise your right to go before a judge.
(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).
Get Help from a Los Angeles Traffic Ticket Attorney Accustomed to Fighting GC Services
Don’t be fooled by GC Services – they are nothing more than a collections agency who wants your money.
As your attorney, I owe you a fiduciary duty to work in your best interest, which includes helping preserve your DMV record, keeping your criminal record clean, and helping you make the best financial decisions when you’re considering how to deal with an unpaid ticket in collections.
I have extensive experience representing traffic ticket defendants in court after their case has been referred to GCS.
To speak with me personally for a free consultation, please contact me here: