SUMMARY: California Traffic Tickets
When you receive a traffic citation in California, you can either fight your ticket or make a payment to the court in the county where you received it. In some cases, you can enroll in traffic school. If you lose your ticket, contact the court handling your case for information. If you commit a major traffic violation, your driver’s license will be suspended.
On this page, you’ll find information about California traffic ticket fines and penalties, what to do if you lose your traffic ticket, and penalties for commercial drivers.
Pay a Traffic Ticket in California
If you pay the ticket and attend traffic school, you may not need to go to court. In some cases, you can pay the fine online or by mail; this information should be printed on your ticket.
If you lose your ticket or you cannot find payment information on the ticket, call the traffic court in the county where you received the citation.
For detailed information about how to pay your traffic ticket, please refer to our page about paying traffic tickets.
Enrolling in a Traffic School Course
Could Traffic School help your situation?
If you received a traffic ticket for a moving violation, you may, at the court’s discretion, have the option to enroll in traffic school to prevent points from hitting your driving record.
Your court will let you know if this is an option for you.
Fight a CA Traffic Ticket
If you wish to contest your traffic ticket in California, you’ll either need to visit the court in the county that issued it, or request a trial by mail.
If the charge is serious, you might consider hiring a traffic ticket attorney.
For specific details on how to fight your traffic ticket and enter your plea, please visit our page on how to fight a traffic ticket in California.
Lost Your Traffic Ticket?
Any online ticket search availability will vary by which California county you live in. Search your county website to see if they have a search option; it is likely that you will have to contact your local traffic court directly for information regarding a lost traffic ticket.
NOTE: Most counties mail courtesy notices with important details contained on your traffic ticket (e.g., court location, appearance date, and fine amount).
Traffic Ticket Fines and Penalties
Traffic fine amounts in California vary by county court. To get specific details about traffic ticket fees, you’ll need to contact the county court listed on your citation. If you’re a commercial driver, see below.
Penalties for Traffic Tickets
The penalties for traffic tickets are consistent throughout all counties in California.
Points issued will depend on the traffic violation. Violations such as speeding, making an unsafe lane change, or an at-fault accident will give you lower points than serious violations, such as reckless driving, hit-and-run, DUI, or driving with a suspended or revoked license.
If convicted of a traffic violation, you could receive points on your CA driving record, or have your driver’s license suspended or revoked. Your traffic court may give you the option to have points removed from your record upon completion of a court-approved traffic course.
For more information, please visit our DMV Point System and Defensive Driving pages.
Fines & Penalties for Commercial Drivers
If you have a CDL and are ticketed for a moving violation in California, you must notify your employer within 30 days of your conviction (even if you get ticketed while driving your own car).
If the conviction occurs out of state, use a Report of Out-of-State Traffic Conviction by a Commercial Driver (Form DL 535) to notify your employer.
For more details about points and suspensions for commercial drivers, please visit our DMV Point System and CDL Suspension pages.
Check Your Driving Record
Depending on your traffic citation, points may be added to your driving record, which could result in a jump in your car insurance rates.
Be sure to check your driving record to ensure no points were mistakenly added or left on your record.
Major Traffic Violations in CA
The CA Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will suspend your driver’s license if you accumulate 4 points or more in 12 months. The court will suspend your driver’s license (regardless of the number of points on your driving record) if you’re cited for a serious traffic violation such as driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs.
You can find more details on our DUI/DWI and Suspended License pages.
Frequently Asked Questions
For more information about traffic tickets in California, visit our Traffic Ticket FAQ page. You’ll find information about a range of topics, including:
- Speeding tickets.
- Red light tickets.
- Fix-it tickets.
- Hiring a traffic ticket attorney.