Traffic fines & fees

How do I find out how much I owe in traffic fines?

For NEW tickets and fines:
    A parking ticket shows the amount you must pay on the ticket itself. The ticket will also say where to send your payment (usually to the local city government or parking agency), how to pay in person, and/or whether you can pay online. If you want to dispute the ticket itself or the amount that you owe, contact the parking agency on the ticket and ask the clerk what to do.[2243]
    An infraction ticket will show you either (1) the amount of the fine that you have to pay, or (2) when you have to appear in court. If you are required to go to court, the judge will tell you how much the fine is.[2244]
    For a misdemeanor ticket, you must go to court on the date stated on your ticket. The court will tell you how much you must pay if you are convicted. Your fines and fees may be as much as $5000, you may face jail time, and/or your driver license may be suspended.[2245]
    If you have questions or disagreements about your infraction or misdemeanor ticket, contact the court listed on your ticket. Contact information and/or links for all local traffic courts is also available online at http://www.ca.gov/Driving/LawsSafety/TrafficFines.html.
For OLD tickets and fines:

If you don’t have the paper ticket anymore, but you know WHERE you got it…

    For parking tickets, contact the parking authority in the city where you got the ticket and tell them you need information about an old parking ticket. This may be the Department of Parking and Traffic, the county sheriff’s department, or the local police department.
    For infraction and misdemeanor tickets, contact the traffic court in the county where the ticket was issued. The traffic court clerk will be able to tell you how much money you owe and explain the payment process.[2246] The clerk will be able to tell you if you have multiple tickets for traffic-related infractions or misdemeanors in that county, but will not have information about non-traffic related offenses. The clerk also will not be able to tell you if you have unpaid traffic tickets in other counties.

If you don’t know WHERE you got the ticket or if the ticket is OUTSTANDING…

    See PG. 665 to find out how to find your old traffic tickets.
    Follow steps 1 and/or 2 above once you know where you have unpaid traffic tickets.

If your traffic fines have been referred to collections: You will need to contact the collection agency to find out how much you owe and how to pay off your fines. Ask the court or agency that issued the ticket which collection agency they send your debt to, and be sure to get the collection agency’s phone number and contact information.

General information about traffic fines:

An important thing to know about traffic fines is that there are lots of additional fees and penalties that can get added to your initial fine. These extra fees and penalties are added automatically—regardless of whether it’s a new or old ticket, and even if you pay everything on time! Your fines may also increase if you have prior traffic violations or points on your driving record. Depending on what your original ticket was for, the additional fees and penalties can sometimes add up to several hundred dollars for an infraction ticket (and much more for a misdemeanor ticket).[2247]

  1. 2243

    See Cal. Veh. Code § 40200 et seq.

  2. 2244

    See Cal. Veh. Code §§ 28001; 40000.7.

  3. 2245

    See Cal. Veh. Code §§ 28001; 40000.7.

  4. 2246

    Telephone interview with Carrie (last name unknown), Traffic Court Clerk, Superior Court of the County of Alameda (Feb. 10, 2015).

  5. 2247

    Judicial Council of Cal., Uniform Bail & Penalty Schedules at (2014), http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/2014-JC-BAIL.pdf.