A failure to appear in traffic court may seem like a relatively harmless thing to happen, but it can turn in to a nightmare pretty quickly if you don’t act fast to remedy the situation.
Confused as to Why You Have a Failure to Appear in the First Place?
As a Los Angeles traffic ticket attorney, I get several calls a day from people like yourself who have failed to appear in court.
Many of my clients were genuinely surprised they had failed to appear in court, for one of several reasons:
- They were waiting for a courtesy notice. Courtesy notices reminding you of your court date are usually not sent anymore in Los Angeles County, due to budget cuts. The actual citation you received at the time of the ticket will have the time, date, and address of the courthouse you are supposed to appear in. If you lose your ticket and don’t take initiative to find your court date online, this usually will result in a failure to appear.
- They were given a correctable violation (a “fix-it ticket”). Driving with expired tags is an example of a correctable violation, or fix-it ticket. The confusion surrounding correctable violations is that once you get the issue fixed, you still have to notify the court that you fixed the issue. Many believe that once they fix the issue, that is all that’s required. WRONG! If you do not appear in court and show the judge the issue has been remedied, you’ll receive a failure to appear in court.
- Inadvertence. Hey, life happens. Many of my clients get a failure to appear because they got busy, moved away, or simply forgot about it.
Whatever your reason for your failure to appear, it’s important to fix the situation soon before it turns into a bigger mess.
How a Failure to Appear in Traffic Court Will Affect You
Your Traffic Ticket Fines Will Greatly Increase
GC Services used to collect on unpaid traffic tickets for all tickets in the Los Angeles Superior Court, but currently the court is handling its own collections.
When you get a failure to appear in Los Angeles County, now the court will send you “options” in the mail to handle your ticket, which usually involve paying the higher fines. If you have a failure to appear and your ticket is not yet 5 years old, then the DMV will also put a hold on your driver’s license.
Be aware that you do not have to pay the excessive amount the court is requesting. The better way is to fight your ticket in court, which we can do for you. In court, we can get the hold cleared from your driver’s license, and get your fines dismissed or greatly reduced. Just contact us below for assistance.
A Failure to Appear May Result in a Bench Warrant
Sometimes a failure to appear will cause the court to issue a bench warrant.
A bench warrant is a warrant issued by the judge because you missed your court date. A bench warrant can cause problems for you if you get pulled over by an officer, who then discovers the warrant, because the officer can impound your car.
Further, a bench warrant may prevent you from traveling by plane either interstate or internationally, and will also usually result in the DMV putting a hold on your driver’s license.
Driving with a Suspended License
As mentioned above, a failure to appear in court causes the DMV to put a “hold” on your driver’s license.
When a hold is placed on your license, the DMV will send you a letter in the mail explaining your license will be suspended if you don’t do anything to remedy the traffic ticket you failed to appear on.
You have a brief window of time before the driver’s license hold turns into a suspension. You don’t want the hold to turn into a suspension for two reasons:
- a suspension on your DMV record can cause your insurance rates to jump up, and also may prevent an employer from hiring you (or may result in your employer terminating you), depending on your type of employment; and
- if your license is suspended, and you are caught driving, you will likely be charged with driving with a suspended license.
If your license is already suspended, you can still remedy the issue by fighting your traffic ticket in court. Once the hold is cleared in traffic court, you can then go to DMV and pay the $55 reinstatement fee to get your license reinstated.
Get Help with Your Failure to Appear
As a Los Angeles traffic ticket attorney, I’ve dealt extensively (i.e. thousands of cases) where my clients have been charged with failure to appear.
I know what your rights are, what your options are, and how to help you get the best results on your case.
To get help today, click the button below.