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Frequently Asked Questions About San Diego Traffic Tickets
We often get called with lots of different questions about traffic tickets here in San Diego. Below you find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we seem to get:
How do I know where I have traffic court?
Where you get assigned for traffic court is determine by where in San Diego County you received your ticket. The officer will give you the traffic court location closest to that area. The location of your traffic court will be checked off or circled on the bottom portion of the yellow citation the officer gave you. It will also be located on the top left corner of the courtesy notice if/when you receive that from the court. There are four different traffic courts in San Diego County: Kearny Mesa, El Cajon, Vista, and Chula Vista.
The officer said I will get something in the mail, will I actually receive something?
The court generally sends out a courtesy notice or letter as you get closer to the court date for your ticket. However, the court is not required to send you anything. The date that is indicated on the bottom portion of the ticket is the only notice that is required to be given to you.
What happens if I miss my court date?
If you miss the court date, the court will do two things: (1) impose a civil assessment in the amount of $300, and (2) notify the DMV that you did not appear at court and the DMV will suspend your driver's license.
What if I have old tickets that I never dealt with?
If you have old tickets that you never went to court on and recently found out about them or learned they are causing a hold on your driver's license, you can either pay off the ticket at the court, or you can contest the underlying ticket and the civil assessment for the failure to appear at the court.
If you never went to court on the tickets, you can still set the tickets for trial. The advantage is that as ticket age and get older, the law enforcement agencies often get rid of or purge the tickets. So for old tickets, it is possible the officer does not have any notes no the date set for trial. If that is the case, you win the underlying citation. You still need to deal with the civil assessment and see if the court is willing to reduce that fine. When you appear or have a traffic ticket attorney appear at court on the old ticket it will lift the hold on your driver's license at the DMV also.
On the other hand, if you went to court and your case was resolved either by pleading guilty/no contest or being found guilty after a traffic ticket trial, you will likely need to pay the amount you owe in order to have your driving privilege reinstated.
Am I eligible for traffic school?
This is question that you are in the best position to answer. If you have not attended traffic school withing 18 months of your citation, you will generally be eligible for traffic school with some exceptions for certain types of offenses such as going 25 miles per hour or more over the speed limit. Commercial drivers are now eligible for traffic school if the offense they are charged with was committed in a non-commercial vehicle. However, for commercial drivers, an employer may still be able to see the point on your record, so it is something you need to speak with your employer about to determine whether traffic school is even an option on your ticket.
Should I take traffic school?
The decision on whether to attend traffic school is a personal decision. Most people elect to take traffic school because it keeps the point from moving violations off their driving record so their insurance rates do not increase from getting the violation. If you have concerns you can ask your insurance company whether your rates would increase if you get a point. If you are contesting your ticket on your own or have a traffic ticket attorney handling the ticket, do not attend traffic school until after your case is resolved. If you win your case, you do not need to attend traffic school so you do not want to waste the chance of traffic school unless it is actually needed.
Do all traffic tickets involve points?
No. Some violations are considered points and others are not. It is also true that some traffic violations that count as points could count as two points. Examples of non-point offenses are cell phone tickets, and texting tickets. Examples of two point offenses are driving on a suspended license or driving under the influence.
If I hire an attorney, do I need to attend court?
If you hire a traffic ticket attorney to represent on your ticket you would not need to attend the court hearings. A traffic ticket is considered an infraction which allows an attorney to appear on your behalf as if you were there also. Hiring an attorney will not only save you hours of your time at court, but an attorney who is familiar with the San Diego traffic court like My Traffic Guys can put in the best position to fight your ticket and get the best possible resolution.