No money to pay traffic violation ticket

Asked over 5 years ago - Van Nuys, CA

Van Nuys, California. Traffic violation. (Made left turn right after “left arrow” turned red). Cop was watching me entire time, I know it’s my fault, no way to “fight” it.
Penalty is $381.00. I can’t come up with this kind of money (right now working part-time). What to do? One “non-expert” told me to ask for a community service instead of payment, another told me — there could be no community service options, and I have to go to jail for couple of days.
1. Will jail time affect my ability to find a job later? (Is this will be my criminal record?)
2. I’m a legal immigrant (14 years in US), - will jail time terminate my ability to become a citizen of US?
I’m willing to take responsibility; I just don’t know what to do.
What are the options for people who don’t have any money?

Additional information

No money to pay traffic violation. My partner is out of work and collecting unemployement. I've been barely able to keep my head above water with paying all the utility bills etc.. I was thinking of bring two months worth of Bank statements so the court can see that I'm serious about the fact that there jyust isn't any money to pull from! Is there any way the court can put you a weekend work detail program to pay off the fine? I know I was guilty and I'm not trying to get out of the punishment there just isn't any way to pay it.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Ben Walter Pesta II

    Contributor Level 14

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    10

    Answered . NO ONE WILL SEND YOU TO JAIL OVER A CURRENT TRAFFIC TICKET. Ask the judge for an extension of time to pay, and ask if you can make payments. He or she WILL say, "yes." People who don't have the money at the moment show up in court all the time. This is how the court WANTS you to handle it!
    A traffic ticket has no immigration consequences, BUT GOING TO JAIL MIGHT, especially if someone puts an immigration hold on you. You could be longer getting out than you plan on. Do NOT go to jail; go directly to traffic court, and ask the judge for an extension of time to pay.
    You are doing exactly as you should. Good luck!

  2. Tracey Beryl Gallagher

    Contributor Level 10

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    6

    Answered . Ask the court if you can make payments. They usually have a payment plan but will tack on an accounts receivable fee. Also ask to see if you can get the court fine lowered. Many times you can. Have you made your court appearance yet? If not, put yourself on calendar and explain to the judge your situation, many times the courts will work with people. This is an infraction, so you will not be put in jail, however, a failure to pay a court fine can if you fail to keep up with the payments. If you have no other traffic violations see if you can also go to traffic school, this also will cost a fee. Best of luck to you.

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