A courtesy notice is a letter that you will receive after a traffic violation in California. This letter will usually be sent out to the address listed on the traffic ticket in no more than 21 days after the ticket was issued. The ticket includes various key pieces of information about the violation or violations including the total fine or bail amount that you will need to pay and the requirements on how the ticket is handled.
Will You Always Receive A Courtesy Notice?
You will not always receive a courtesy notice. The courts are under no legal obligation to send one out although they will in most cases. This means that if you do not receive a courtesy notice you can not use it as a reason not to act on or address the traffic ticket. Instead, it will be your responsibility to contact the court to find out the key information that would be included on a notice like this before the appearance date.
If you do not receive a courtesy notice after several weeks, do not assume that the traffic violation has been forgotten. Instead, make sure that you contact the court directly. You can then decide on the action that you want to take based on the violation. This could include:
- Paying the bail
- Completing a trial by written declaration
- Appearing in court
What Is Included In A Courtesy Notice?
There are various key pieces of information that will be included in a courtesy notice such as:
- The bail amount based on prior driving history and violations
- Proof of correction requirements for mechanical violations
- Eligibility requirements for traffic school
- Information on whether a court appearance will be mandatory
If a court appearance is mandatory then you will not be able to complete a trial by written declaration.
What Happens If You Do Not Respond To A Courtesy Notice?
If you fail to respond to a courtesy notice then you will be charged with an FTA or failure to appear before or on the date on the traffic ticket. In this case then you can receive an additional violation and additional fee of $300. A hold may also be put on the driver’s license restricting their ability to drive and register a vehicle. The fine for the traffic ticket may also be referred to a collection agency in some cases and a warrant can even be sent out for your arrest.
What Should You Do After You Receive A Courtesy Notice For A Traffic Ticket?
Once you receive a traffic ticket, you should make sure that you take action as quickly as possible. If you are planning on paying the cost of the bail, then you should do this without delay. Do note that if you choose to pay the bail amount then you will be voiding your chance at contesting a speeding ticket and avoiding the cost of the fine. This is worth trying as drivers do find success putting the right defense forward here.
If you do wish to contest the ticket, then you’ll need to check your courtesy notice to see if a court appearance is mandatory. If a court appearance is not mandatory then you can explore the process of a trial by written declaration. To pursue this option, you will need to contact the court to gain the relevant documents. They will send these out to you and it’s important to make sure that these are completed the right way. If there are issues with this process, then it can impact your chances of success.
You need to make sure that you include all the relevant information relating to the incident which led to the violation. Be aware that the officer will also have a chance to complete and send in their own written declaration based on the incident. You will be required to state that your account of the event is honest and true.
Do note that choosing a written declaration does not limit your options in any way. You can still be provided with the option of traffic school if you are found guilty. You will also be granted the option of a second court case where you can argue your case another time. As such, this can be an option worth exploring. Particularly, if the cost of the fine for the traffic ticket is beyond what your typical budget will allow.
Alternatively, you may decide to arrange a date to appear in court after receiving a courtesy notice.
What Types of Tickets Do We Help With?
GetDismissed produces results in fighting all kinds of tickets. Unfortunately, this list does not include exhibition of speed citations. Your best bet in fighting one of these infractions, is to contact an attorney. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to try and reduce fines, or even to reduce the charges to a lesser infraction which could possibly qualify for traffic school.
We do however, contest infractions revolving around speeding, red lights, red light cameras, cell phones, signs (primarily stop signs), carpool violations, U-turns, out of lane violations, and commercial violations. If you receive a citation and have questions, contact us today.