If you have been issued a fix it ticket in Los Angeles County, chances are you may not be 100% certain how to proceed with getting this ticket properly taken care of.
In my career as a Los Angeles traffic ticket attorney, I have seen literally thousands of Los Angeles fix it tickets. Most people with fix it tickets fall into only one of two camps, so I’ve organized this blog post accordingly:
- I explain what a fix it ticket is;
- I explain how to handle your fix it ticket when you have not missed your court date; and
- I explain how to handle your fix it ticket when you have a failure to appear.
WTF is a Fix it Ticket?
A fix it ticket, also called a “correctable violation,” is a citation issued by law enforcement that requires you to fix something mechanically inoperable on your vehicle, or otherwise pay a fine to the court if you fail to fix it.
It is that second part about paying the fine on time (if you opt not to fix your vehicle), that can get you into trouble with a failure to appear in traffic court.
Some examples of fix it tickets include:
- window tint is too dark
- driving on expired tags
- broken taillight
- cracked windshield
- no front or rear license plate
Other quasi fix it tickets include no registration and no insurance.
I call driving without insurance a “quasi” fix it ticket because in the situation where you were actually insured but could not provide proof of insurance to law enforcement at the time you were pulled over, if you can later prove to the court you were insured, the judge will dismiss it for usually a $25 dismissal fee (similar to a true fix it ticket).
A citation for driving with expired registration in California is also a quasi fix it ticket because although it doesn’t involve fixing a mechanical or physical issue with your vehicle, it can be solved in a similar manner by showing proof of registration to the judge in court. For this offense, even after-acquired registration will convince the court to dismiss it for usually a $25 fee.
The reason a fix it ticket can be misleading is due to it’s name: it is reasonable to assume that with a fix it ticket you don’t owe any money, and that all you have to do is fix the issue. But don’t forget the other half of the equation: if you don’t fix it, you have to pay!
The next section of this post deals with handling your citation when you have not yet missed your court date (no failure to appear).
Four Basic Steps to Handle Your Fix it Ticket in Los Angeles County When You Have Not Failed to Appear in Traffic Court
Step #1: Locate the Specific Courthouse You are Supposed to Report To
The courthouse name and address is located at the bottom of your citation.
If you no longer have a copy of your citation, you can usually find information about your traffic ticket on the Los Angeles County traffic court website here to find out which court you’re supposed to report to.
In the case where you no longer have the citation and you are also unable to find your citation online, you can go to any court branch in Los Angeles County and provide your identifying information to the traffic clerk, and they should be able to find it for you and tell you which court it is in.
To save yourself the time of waiting in line, you can make an online appointment to see a traffic clerk here.
The Los Angeles Superior Court locations include:
- Beverly Hills
- El Monte
- Long Beach
- Santa Monica
- Van Nuys
- West Covina
Unfortunately, there is no way to handle a fix-it ticket online or by phone in Los Angeles County.
You have to either:
- appear in person at the specific courthouse
- mail in your proof of correction (not recommended, as explained below)
- hire an attorney to handle the ticket for you (usually doesn’t make sense unless you have a failure to appear, as discussed below)
Step #2: Correct the Issue
“Correcting” the issue looks a bit different in every situation. Some examples include:
- window tint – have the tint changed back to the legal window tint shade
- no registration tags/ stickers – renew your registration and make sure the stickers are on your license plate
- no insurance – show proof of insurance on the date you were driving
- no front plate – get a valid front license plate
Once you have corrected the issue for which you were cited, you must have an authorized member of law enforcement sign off on that fact for the traffic court.
- For correctable mechanical issues (window tint, broken tail light, etc.): take your vehicle and a copy of the citation to any law enforcement agency that regularly signs off on fix it tickets – they will stamp your citation or attach a document to it showing that you corrected the issue.
- For no registration or no license tickets: obtain official paperwork from DMV showing your license or registration is now valid
- For no insurance tickets: obtain from your insurance carrier proof of coverage for the vehicle driven at the time and for the date in question.
Step #3: Let the Court Know You Corrected the Issue
Different court locations throughout Los Angeles County may handle this step a bit differently.
As mentioned above, I do not recommend mailing in your proof of correction, because of the risk of it getting lost in the mail or never received or properly processed by the court, which would result in a failure to appear in court.
The best way is to appear at the traffic clerk window before the due date on your ticket with the proper proof of correction. The good news is you can now make an appointment online to see the clerk, so you don’t have to wait in long lines.
Step #4: Resolution of the Issue
Some Los Angeles County court clerks will dismiss your citation at the traffic clerk window in the courthouse once you have shown valid proof of correction.
In some cases, the clerk may schedule a court date for you to come back and see the judge to resolve the issue.
The specific method your local Los Angeles County Superior Court branch will use to resolve your ticket may vary depending on location.
How to Handle Your Fix it Ticket in Los Angeles County When You Have a Failure to Appear
As you may well already be aware, when your case is referred to GC Services, a tragic snowball may begin to form:
- your fines go up to around $800 or more
- a VC 40509.5 hold will be placed on your license
- the hold on your license will turn into a suspended license if you don’t handle the ticket in time
- you could be cited for driving with a suspended license which can be charged as a misdemeanor
- your car could be impounded if you get pulled over while driving with a suspended license
But don’t fret!
As quickly as you got into this mess, you can quickly turn things around. Below is the process you should follow for resolving your fix it ticket with a failure to appear.
Step #1: Relax
Some people feel a sense of shame when they find out their license is suspended due to one or more unpaid fix it tickets.
You need to know you are definitely not alone if you are in this camp, because so many others also mistakenly believed they did not have to make a court appearance on a fix it ticket.
Step #2: Don’t Pay GC Services
GC Services, the collections agency, may try to call you or send you threatening letters. That’s because they are debt collectors and that’s their job. However, they often misrepresent the truth or flat out lie to you in an effort to get you to pay them.
They may tell you that they will lift the hold from your driver’s license if you pay them, but:
- they aren’t telling you that tickets older than 5 years old are not holding your license anymore
- they aren’t telling you that with a failure to appear you still have the right to another traffic court date
- they aren’t telling you that you can still get your license back by putting your case back in traffic court, and
- they aren’t telling you that your fines will be much lower when you resolve your fix it ticket in traffic court.
Step #3: Calendar a Traffic Court Date
Once your case has been referred to GC Services, the traffic clerk will no longer speak to you about your case, but will only refer you to speak with GC Services.
So you have to call GC Services, or wait in line at the their window in traffic court in order to calendar a court date. But don’t let them fool you!
As mentioned above, they will try to convince you to pay them on the spot. If your ticket is in failure to appear status, however, you have the right to a court date and you should assert this right and demand a court date.
I’ve been talking to GC Services for nearly a decade on behalf of my clients, so if you need help dealing with your case, I provide affordable legal representation. You can contact me below for a free consultation.
Step #4: Appear in Court or Have Your Lawyer Go
In the case where you decide to represent yourself, make sure you have the proper paperwork with you when you go to court (see Step #2 above under the first section of this blog post for ideas of the kind of paperwork you may need).
If you have hired a traffic ticket attorney, your attorney can go to court for you without you present.
Get Help with Your Fix it Ticket
If you need help with your Los Angeles County fix it ticket, just click the button below to speak with me personally for a free consultation.