When Can and Can’t I Dismiss a Ticket in California?

Got a ticket? Not fun! Usually, your next steps are deciding if you want to plead guilty or not. If you plead guilty, you’ll need to pay the ticket before the appearance date of your citation, but if you want to fight the ticket, you’ll need to go to court.

But wait, there’s more! You may also receive a “correctable violation” on your ticket, indicating that the reason you received a ticket is capable of correction; this type of ticket is also referred to as a “fix-it” ticket. On this type of ticket, beside the line reading “Notice to Appear” there should be a box checked “yes.” The court will also send you a courtesy notice letting you know if you have to pay for the violation or just show proof of correction. With proof of correction and a dismissal fee, you should be dismissed of the charge.

dismissed When your case gets dismissed...

Some examples of correctable tickets are:

  • Equipment violations: a broken tail light for example (aka fix-it tickets)
  • Driver’s license violations: missing your license at the time you were pulled over OR having an expired license
  • Car registration violations: missing your registration at the time of your ticket OR having expired registration
  • Insurance violations: failing to provide proof of insurance even though you had insurance coverage at the time of the ticket

Once you fix the problem by updating your equipment or information, you’ll need to get an authorized person to sign the “Certificate of Correction” part of the ticket. Authorized persons include police officers for fix-it tickets (not for insurance), the DMV for driver’s license and car registrations, and court clerks for proof of car insurance at the time of citations. With this and a dismissal fee, you can contact the court to see if they accept proof of correction by mail (if not, just take it to the court before the deadline). The court will then dismiss your case and it won’t go on your record.

When your case gets deleted off of your record...

If you have a more serious offense, and want to prevent a point from going on your record, you may also have the option to go to traffic school. Tickets that typically accept traffic school are infractions that are moving violations, whereas violations like equipment offenses, non-moving offenses, misdemeanors, alcohol or drug-related offenses, and offenses in a commercial vehicle are not. If you complete traffic school by the due date, you will have a confidential conviction on your record at the DMV, but you won’t receive a point on your driving record. While you’ll still have to pay a fine in addition to attending school, it’ll pay off in the long run to remove the point from your record so your insurance won’t increase.

Need a place to get started? How ‘bout here: https://www.aceable.com/traffic-school/california/

Krista Doyle
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