can you refuse to sign a traffic ticket

Can You Refuse To Sign A Traffic Ticket In California?

Does Signing a Traffic Ticket Mean You Are Admitting Guilt

There are days when nothing seems to be going right. You miss your alarm; skip your morning shower and coffee, all in the quest to get to work. Once you hit the road, you think about pushing the speed limit up a bit to reach your job on time. 

Just as you proceed, your eyes wander to the rear-view mirror just to catch the sight of the flashing lights. You know what that means, you are about to get handed a traffic ticket. So how should you proceed? Can you refuse to sign a traffic ticket

Can You Refuse To Sign a Traffic Ticket?

So what exactly happens when you get a traffic ticket? The officer pulls you over, asks you to hand over your car’s registration, driving license and proof of insurance. The officer will then present you with a ‘Notice to Appear’ if you are being charged with a violation, and you will be asked to sign it.

Technically – yes, you can refuse to sign the ticket. However, If you don’t sign it, the officer will immediately arrest you and present you in front of a judge. For most of us we want to avoid this confrontation.

Does Signing a Traffic Ticket Mean You Are Admitting Guilt?

So if you do sign the traffic ticket then you may wonder if it means you are admitting guilt. The answer is no! If you choose to sign the ticket, it only ensures your commitment of appearing in the court in due time of the appointed date. Therefore, even if you sign a traffic ticket after being pulled over, you can still fight it and get it dismissed! 

Keep in mind, refusing to sign a traffic ticket does not mean you have a better chance of getting a traffic ticket dismissed. Most likely, not signing will irritate the cop and judge which will mean you will have to pay the full fine and have a point on your record. 

The Options You Have After Getting A Ticket

If you end up with a traffic ticket, you must take action before the assigned date on your ‘Notice to Appear.’ All the courts are obligated to send a notice to remind you of your options, and you are required to act before the date on your notice runs out. If you fail to take action or appear in the court within the given date, the court can decide on charging you with a heavier crime, suspending your license, adding additional penalties and/or a warrant can be issued.

So, to avoid all the hassle, let’s look at the options you can choose from.

 Pay the Ticket

You can accept responsibility and pay the fine, which is also known as ‘bail.’  You can send the payment and the courtesy notice payment stub to the courthouse. If there are violations that need to be corrected like an expired registration, make sure you include the correction as a proof. Here are some things to keep in mind if you choose to just pay your fines:

  • An average cost of a traffic ticket in California is $230 with a base fine of $35 and you must not forget the 15% yearly average hike of insurance.
  • When you pay for a traffic ticket, your driving record will get 1 to 2 points, and your insurance company may cancel your policy or increase the insurance premiums for the next 3 years.
  • Your case will close once the court receives the payment. If you are unsure about the exact amount, you can contact the court and get to know about the total fine you need to pay. Some courts also allow you to pay the fine online. 
  • If you are struggling financially and aren’t able to pay the entire amount, you can ask the court to lower the amount or request a payment plan or community service. 

Go to a Traffic School

If you get a traffic infraction, you can request traffic school from the court. Going to traffic school will help in keeping your car insurance down by not letting the insurance companies see the point from the traffic ticket. With that said, you will still need to pay the hefty traffic ticket fine and the traffic ticket will remain on your record. So if you get another traffic ticket that could cause the court to suspend your license.

Appear At Court 

You have the option of appearing in court on the assigned date on your ticket, or you can contact the court beforehand and ask for the following:

  • You can ask for an arraignment so that you can enter your plea. Then you can either plead guilty and discuss how you want to pay the fine, or you can plead ‘not guilty’ and ask to be given a trial date. 

Even if you do contest your traffic ticket in court or hire an attorney to represent you, there is no guarantee that the judge will dismiss or lower your traffic ticket. Also if your ticket is not dismissed or fine reduced, you may find yourself paying expensive lawyer fees on top of everything else.

Trial By Written Declaration

The last option and the best option is to fight your ticket in writing instead of going to court. This is called trial by written declaration and it is the best and easiest way to dismiss your ticket. If your ticket is dismissed, there will be no points and your bail amount will be returned.

All you need to do is hire a reliable traffic ticket dismissal service such as TicketBust. TicketBust builds a written defense for you. All you have to do is photograph your license and ticket, tell us about your circumstance, print the documents and send the documents to court.

TicketBust Is Here To Help 

Being the leading California traffic ticket dismissal service, TicketBust takes pride in helping tens of thousands of drivers dismiss their traffic tickets through a trial by written declaration. With an experience in contesting traffic tickets for more than 18 years, we boast the most efficient system to solve your traffic ticket queries.

If you recently got a traffic ticket and need our help, TicketBust has got you covered.