Metropolitan (“Metro”) Courthouse is located at 1945 South Hill Street in downtown Los Angeles.
If you got a traffic ticket in the downtown LA area and are supposed to report to the Metro courthouse to deal with your traffic ticket, you may be wondering what to do next.
As a Metro traffic ticket attorney in Los Angeles, I’ve handled thousands of traffic tickets on behalf of my clients. My goal in this post is to help you navigate what to do next on your traffic ticket – whether you have a future court date or whether you’ve failed to appear on a past court date.
What to do on a Metro Traffic Ticket When You Have a Failure to Appear
At the bottom of your citation, where you signed it, there will be the court’s address along with the date you are supposed to appear by. This date is known as your “check-in” date, which is the date you’re supposed to appear in traffic court.
If you missed your check-in date by just a few days or so, chances are you can still access the LA Traffic Ticket Website and pay the ticket online or request a future court date (but first read the information below pertaining to whether you should pay a ticket even when you haven’t failed to appear).
If you’ve missed your check-in date, your case will soon be sent to GC Services, if it hasn’t already.
GC Services is a very misleading collections agency, and they will lie by either omitting relevant facts you’ll probably find to be very important, or they will blatantly tell you false information (e.g. “You can’t get another court date” even though that’s often not true!).
How to Handle GC Services
If you have a failure to appear, perhaps you’ve received calls or threatening letters from GC Services warning you that your license will be suspended if you don’t pay them.
Or perhaps your license is already suspended and you’ve been driving with a suspended license, and GC Services is telling you to pay thousands of dollars in order to get your license back.
Chances are, neither of those statements are true.
#1 First Check the Age of Your Tickets
GC Services will often try and collect on tickets that aren’t holding your license up any more. Under the 5 Year DMV Purge Rule, the DMV will purge the hold from a ticket once it is 5 years old.
What does this mean? It means that you don’t have to pay tickets older than 5 years old in order to reinstate your license, even though that’s what GC Services may be telling you to do!
Technically, you owe on the traffic tickets you’ve already been convicted of. These are called “failure to pay” (FTP) tickets. However, if you’re going to prioritize getting your license back, focus on the tickets that are holding your license first!
“Failure to appear” (FTA) tickets are tickets with GC Services that you never went to court on.
Whether you have an FTA or an FTP, the 5 Year DMV Purge rule applies in both cases.
#2 Determine the Reason You’re in Collections – FTA or FTP?
As mentioned above, an FTA means you’ve never been to court on your ticket. If you have an FTA, you don’t have a conviction from this ticket yet. The ticket is in a sort of limbo, but it will hold your license up unless it’s older than 5 years old.
An FTP means you’ve seen the judge already and were convicted and ordered by the court to pay fines but you did not pay your fines on time.
#3 Determine Whether to Pay GC Services or Schedule a Court Date
If your ticket is an FTA and is still holding your license because it’s not older than 5 years old yet, then you should schedule a court date to fight the ticket (or hire a Metro traffic ticket attorney to do it for you).
If your ticket is an FTP and is still holding your license because it’s not older than 5 years old yet, then you have to pay GC Services on this ticket to clear this hold (but if you have other tickets that are in FTA status, don’t pay those!).
What to do on a Metro Traffic Ticket when You do NOT Have a Failure to Appear
If you haven’t failed to appear on your Metro traffic ticket, you need to pay attention to the date at the bottom of your citation.
This is called your “check-in” date. It’s not an actual court date in front of the judge, but it’s the deadline to:
- request a court date to see the judge,
- to pay your ticket online, or
- to hire an attorney to handle the ticket for you.
If you fail to handle your traffic ticket on or before the check-in date, your case will be referred to GC Services (see above for a description of how to handle GC Services), so it’s important to keep track of this date!
If you no longer have a copy of your citation and can’t remember your check-in date, you can search for your traffic ticket on the LA County court’s traffic ticket website by using your date of birth and driver’s license.
Your Options on Your Metro Traffic Ticket When You Haven’t Failed to Appear
You have a few options when considering what to do next on your Metro traffic ticket, in the case where you haven’t failed to appear.
#1 Pay Your Ticket Online
On the LA County Court traffic ticket website, you can simply pay it. However – be aware that if this ticket is a moving violation, you’ll get a point on your DMV record unless you complete traffic school!
#2 Calendar a Court Date to Fight Your Ticket
You can schedule a court date, or get an extension of your check-in date in some cases, all from the Court’s traffic ticket website, if you know what you’re doing and you’d like to fight your ticket yourself.
#3 Hire an Attorney to Handle the Ticket for You
As a Metro traffic ticket attorney of several years, I’ve handled thousands of traffic ticket cases in the Metro courthouse.
If you’re short on money, the best way to handle your ticket is option #2 above (fight the ticket yourself) – BUT, be aware that this could be more costly in the long run, depending on what you’re charged with and your level of experience and knowledge about the charges and consequences of a conviction.
Sometimes, it’s a wise financial decision (based on out of pocket cost as well as the value of your time) to hire a traffic ticket attorney. It usually makes sense to hire a traffic ticket attorney when:
- you cannot make the court appearances yourself (your attorney can go for you);
- you don’t know what you’re doing (an experienced attorney will know the best procedural and substantive strategy to get you the best results possible);
- you are not traffic school eligible and are at risk of getting a point on your DMV record;
- you have a bench warrant or failure to appear hold;
- you are a commercial driver and are at risk of losing your employment if you get a point on your DMV record; and/ or
- your traffic ticket is a “wobbler” offense and can be filed as a misdemeanor, which will have an impact on your criminal record.
There may be other reasons that justify hiring a traffic ticket attorney for help – you can fill out the form below if you’d like a free consultation.
Hire a Metro Traffic Ticket Attorney to Help You with Your Traffic Ticket
Still not sure about whether you should hire a traffic ticket attorney? Call me at 888-250-8450 or use the Contact Form below for a free consultation.