Living in LA can be a bitch sometimes. Especially once you’ve gotten a Los Angeles traffic ticket, perhaps when you were already late for work and fighting rush hour traffic to get to a job you weren’t even that excited about.
But before you get too depressed, I’m going to make sure you’re even more depressed by telling you how a Los Angeles traffic ticket can get even worse if you ignore it for too long (BUT DON’T WORRY – there is light at the end of the tunnel!).
Los Angeles Traffic Ticket + FTA = Huge Headache
At the bottom of your traffic ticket, where you signed it, is the name and address of the Los Angeles Court branch you are supposed to report to, with a due date written next to it.
You have to pay your traffic ticket, or request a court date, on or before the date written at the bottom of your citation.
If you haven’t missed that date yet, you can pay the ticket or request a court date on the LA Traffic Ticket website here.
However, if you failed to pay your ticket or calendar a future court date in time, your ticket will be sent to a collections agency called GC Services. GC Services is a private company that collects money owed on unpaid tickets for the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Why You Don’t Want to Pay GC Services
GC Services has one interest in mind: collecting your money.
They aren’t concerned with you getting your driver’s license back, or how much money you’ll have to pay, or the effect on your criminal record and your DMV record.
As a traffic ticket attorney whose been fighting Los Angeles traffic tickets in court for a long time, I can see clearly why it’s better to fight your ticket in court rather than pay the collections agency, assuming you are still able to get a court date.
(Hint: just because GC Services told you that you can’t get a court date, it’s not necessarily true!)
Know Whether You are Entitled to a Court Date, Regardless of what GC Services Says
If you owe GC Services money and call them to request a court date to see the judge, chances are they will tell you that option is no longer available to you.
BUT THEY MIGHT BE LYING TO YOU!
Here’s how you know whether you can still get a court date:
- you haven’t seen the judge yet and your ticket is in failure to appear (FTA) status, AND
- you haven’t made even one payment to GC Services yet under the amnesty program (it’s ok if you made a payment to GC Services, as long as you haven’t paid in full and it wasn’t under amnesty).
The only time you cannot get a court date to see the judge is if you’ve seen the judge already and your case was adjudicated (resolved) and the judge sentenced you to pay fines – this is called a failure to pay (FTP).
So in sum, you can get a traffic court date for an FTA when you haven’t paid under the amnesty program, and you cannot get a court date for an FTP under any circumstances.
How to Know Whether You have an FTA or FTP
If you are viewing your outstanding tickets on the Los Angeles court website, an FTA will have the status of either “40509.5 hold” or “Warrant.” An FTP will have the status of “matters set for compliance.”
If you have a DMV report, the DMV will clearly outline all outstanding tickets, listing out separately the FTAs from the FTPs (a DMV report will also use the abbreviation “FTA” and “FTP”).
What to Do with your FTAs and/ or FTPs
First, look at the date of violation of each ticket. If your ticket is older than 5 years old, the hold can be purged pursuant to the 5 Year DMV Purge rule. If all of your tickets are older than 5 years old, then none of them are holding your license any longer and you can go to DMV to get your license reinstated today!
If the tickets are not 5 years old yet, then your FTAs and FTPs should both be holding your license still, although, check what GC Services is saying and what the Court’s website says against what DMV says is holding your license – DMV is king!
If DMV says a ticket is/ is not holding your license, that is what you need to go by because DMV is the agency in charge of giving you your license back – not the Court or GC Services.
Technically, you still owe the court for your FTAs and FTPs, but as a matter of priority, you don’t have to wait around paying off old tickets in order to get your license back.
Why You Don’t Want to Pay GC Services
Paying GC Services will not leave you in a better off position. When you pay them, you are pleading guilty to the ticket and the FTA Charge, and you’ll have consequences that may include:
- paying 4-5 times the amount you could’ve paid in court
- getting an FTA charge on your criminal record that will show in a criminal background check
- getting points on your DMV record, causing your insurance rates to rise
- potentially not getting the hold cleared from your license even though they said they would
The best way is to handle your Los Angeles traffic ticket in court, assuming you have that option (see above for whether you qualify for a court date – FTAs only, not FTPs!)
Assuming you have an FTA and not an FTP and are still entitled to a court date, in court you can look forward to these potential benefits that would not be available to you if you paid GC Services:
- get the hold cleared from your license, on the ticket that matters, so you can get your license back
- get your case completely dismissed so you don’t owe any money and have no convictions
- get your failure to appear knocked down to an infraction so it stays off of your criminal record
- keep points off of your DMV record by getting your case dismissed, amended, or traffic school
It isn’t really rocket science, it’s simply far better to handle your ticket in court when you have that option.
Los Angeles Traffic Ticket with Mandatory Court Appearance
Some Los Angeles traffic tickets require a mandatory appearance, such as driving over 100mph under VC 22348(b), or a cigarette litter ticket under VC 23111.
If you don’t have the time, know-how, patience, or resolve to get in to court to fight your ticket on your own, don’t let it go to FTA status! You can contact me for help below.
Not Traffic School Eligible for your Los Angeles Traffic Ticket?
Getting a point on your DMV record can be quite costly because your insurance company will raise your premium. If you are a commercial driver, getting a point on your record can be much worse – in some cases resulting in termination from employment.
You are not traffic school eligible if:
- you have gone in the past 18 months
- your violation carries two points instead of just one (such as driving with a suspended license or exhibition of speed)
- you are a commercial driver (“commercial driver traffic school” only removes the point for purposes of a negligent operator suspension, but not for insurance or employment purposes)
When you’re not traffic school eligible, hiring a traffic ticket attorney becomes more necessary to protect your job, your insurance, and your DMV record.
Hire an Attorney to Help with Your Los Angeles Traffic Ticket
My name is Attorney Paul Denni, and I’ve been handling Los Angeles traffic tickets for my clients for several years, representing them on thousands of traffic tickets. For a free consultation, you can speak with me personally by clicking here: