Monday, July 15, 2019

So you received a traffic ticket

We all know that sinking feeling when we see this in our rear view mirror:
Or we drive by this:
It means - the dreaded traffic ticket.

In California, at the bottom of the ticket [the formal name is “citation”] is a date, time, and courthouse address.  Under that is a statement that says something like “without admitting guilt, I promise to appear at the date/time/place indicated above.”  That's where you signed, promising to appear.

If you don't appear on or before that date, lots of bad things can result.

Okay - maybe not this bad
A warrant can be issued for your arrest, your driver's license can be suspended, and additional fines can be added.  Then the next time you're stopped for a traffic violation, Murphy's Law will dictate that you'll have your 85-year-old great-aunt Marge in the car with you.  You know the one.  She's the lady who everyone in your family calls “little miss busybody” because she's always gossiping about family matters.
Your Great-Aunt Marge
Not only will you be embarrassed to be pulled over by the police, you'll be hauled off to jail on the outstanding warrant along with the additional charge of driving on a suspended license, which is generally a misdemeanor.  None of this is fun, except to Marge who WAS THERE WHEN IT ALL HAPPENED.  Pretty soon your unfortunate predicament will be reported on the evening news and you'll need to change your name, have plastic surgery, and join the witness protection program.
Don't let that happen.  Write your court date in LARGE BLACK PERMANENT MARKER on your calendar, enter the date into your phone/computer/PDA/whatever you use.  Tape a note to the back side of your front door.

And, if you accidentally miss your appearance date, go to court immediately to take care of it.  You'll probably still be looking at an increased fine, but the license suspension and the warrant can be removed.  Sorry Aunt Marge!

Tell us in the comments about your Aunt Marge.

Next week, how to clear a “fix it” ticket.

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